Generalized anxiety, separation anxiety and school phobia: the predominance of cognitive-behavioural therapy
Isabel Santacruz, Mireia Orgilés, Ana I. Rosa, Julio Sánchez-Meca, Xavier Méndez, and José Olivares
The results of a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of the treatment for generalized anxiety, separation anxiety and school phobia/refusal in children and adolescents are presented. Ten scientific reports appeared between 1980 and 2002, which fulfilled the selection criteria, were identified leading to 25 independent studies. Seven hundred and forty three children and adolescents, between the ages of 5 and 17 years, with a mean age of 11 and a gender proportion of 3 girls to 2 boys, took part. The 10-week treatment reached an overall medium-high effectiveness in the pos-test (d+= 0.78) and a high effectiveness in an average ten-month follow-up (d+= 1.06). With the exception of one study, the cognitive-behavioral therapy was applied, either on its own or together with family intervention or imipramine, and proved to be highly effective (d+= 0.87). The components of the program proved to be highly effective, especially contingency management (d+= 1.53), relaxation (d+= 1.29), exposure (d+= 1.27), and self-instruction (d+= 1.07). The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.
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