Future directions in the treatment of childhood anxiety disorders
Golda S. Ginsburg and Kimberly D. Becker
Recent literature reviews reveal a significant growth in the number of clinical trials of psychosocial treatments for ameliorating anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. This paper presents a look ahead toward critical next steps in extending our knowledge and improving the clinical care for the millions of children and families whose lives are impaired by excessive anxiety and fear. Toward this end, we discuss three areas for future research. The first area involves the systematic evaluation of predictors, moderators, and mediators of treatment outcome in order to personalize and augment the effectiveness of current evidence-based treatments. The second area involves examining ways in which current treatments can be extended to new populations (i.e., to those that have been excluded from previous clinical trials), new formats, and to new settings. The third area for future research discusses the need to develop novel interventions (both treatment and prevention) based on emerging evidence from the scientific literature in the fields of developmental psychopathology and neuroscience. Research on the treatment of child anxiety is at an exciting stage and the next generation of studies will likely lead to many innovative and clinically beneficial outcomes.