The Length of Child Anxiety Treatment in a Regional Health System

Stephen P.H. Whiteside, Chelsea M. Ale, Brennan Young, Mark W. Olsen, Bridget K. Biggs, Melissa S. Gregg, Jennifer R. Geske, Kendra Homan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Anxiety disorders are often undertreated due to unsuccessful dissemination of evidence-based treatments (EBTs). Lack of empirical data regarding the typical length of treatment in clinical settings may hamper the development of clinically relevant protocols. The current study examined billing records for 335 children ages 7–17 years to quantify the treatment received for newly diagnosed anxiety disorders within a regional health system. The vast majority of patients did not receive a sufficient number of appointments to complete the typical cognitive behavioral therapy protocol or reach the sessions introducing exposure. Although half of the sample received pharmacotherapy, the vast majority received fewer follow-up appointments than participants in pharmacotherapy research studies. Further, the type of treatment (i.e., number of sessions and medication) differed depending on utilization of specialty care. These results underscore the need to develop brief and flexible EBT protocols that can be standardized and implemented in community practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)985-992
Number of pages8
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Anxiety disorders
  • Child
  • Community care
  • Evidence-based treatment
  • Health system data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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