Plus Internet Delivery of Cognitive-Behavior Therapy
for Australian Children with Anxiety Disorders
Internet is increasingly used to deliver various components
of mental health services, including cognitive behavioral
therapy (CBT) for adults. To test the feasibility and
efficacy of partially delivering CBT for child anxiety
disorders via the Internet, an Australian research team
randomized 72 7-14-year-olds to receive group CBT at a
university clinic (designated as the CLINIC group), similar
CBT for which half the sessions were delivered via the
Internet (designated as the CLIN-NET group), or a waiting
list control condition (designated as the WL group) (Spence
et al., 2006). Diagnostic status was determined via a
structured diagnostic interview with each child's parent.
The children completed anxiety and depression scales,
while parents completed the CBCL and the Spence Children's
Anxiety Scale-Parent Version (SCAS-P). According to clinicians'
ratings of severity and the CBCL Internalizing scale,
the CLINIC and CLIN-NET groups showed significantly greater
reductions in problems from pre- to post-treatment than
the WL group, with no significant differences between
the CLINIC and CLIN-NET groups. The other measures showed
more varied patterns of results. The significant improvement
in CBCL Internalizing scores continued at 6- and 12-month
follow-ups, with no significant differences between the
CLINIC and CLIN-NET conditions. Compliance, acceptability,
client retention, and client satisfaction were all found
to be high for parents and children in the CLIN-NET group.
The authors concluded that "the Internet delivery
of CBT sessions for child anxiety disorders is clearly
feasible and may provide a valuable adjunct to clinic-based
treatment. Future research is now warranted to determine
the feasibility and efficacy of full delivery of CBT for
the treatment of clinically anxious children" (p.
Reference: Spence, S.H., Holmes, J.M., March,
S., & Lipp, O.V. (2006). The Feasibility and Outcome
of Clinic Plus Internet Delivery of Cognitive-Behavior
Therapy for Childhood Anxiety. Journal of Consulting
and Clinical Psychology, 74, 614-621.