The feasibility of improving CBT for childhood anxiety disorders through a dismantling study

Stephen Perry Whiteside, Chelsea M. Ale, Brennan Young, Julie E. Dammann, Michael S. Tiede, Bridget K Biggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This preliminary randomized controlled trial (RCT) examines the feasibility of dismantling cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for childhood anxiety disorders. Fourteen children (10 girls) ages 7 to 14 (. m = 10.2) with social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, or panic disorder were randomized to receive 6 sessions of either a) the pre-exposure anxiety management strategies presented in traditional CBT, or b) parent-coached exposure therapy. The sample was selected from a treatment seeking population and is representative of children in clinical settings. Examination of fidelity ratings, dropouts, and satisfaction ratings indicated that the interventions were distinguishable, safe, and tolerable. The overall sample improved significantly with pre-post effect sizes generally in the large range for both conditions. Between-group effect sizes indicating greater improvement with parent-coached exposure therapy were moderate or large for ten of 12 variables (i.e., 0.53 to 1.52). Re-evaluation after three months of open treatment suggested that the intervention emphasizing exposure early maintained its superiority while requiring fewer appointments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Anxiety disorders
  • Child
  • Exposure
  • Outcome
  • RCT
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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