School-Based Treatment for Anxiety Research Study (STARS): a Randomized Controlled Effectiveness Trial

Golda S. Ginsburg, Jeffrey E. Pella, Paige J. Pikulski, Jenn Yun Tein, Kelly L. Drake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The current study compared the effectiveness of a school-clinician administered cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) to treatment as usual (TAU) at post-treatment (i.e., after 12 weeks) and at a 1 year follow-up. Sixty-two school-based clinicians (37 in CBT; 25 in TAU) and 216 students (148 students in CBT; 68 in TAU) participated. Students were ages 6–18 (mean age 10.87; 64% Caucasian & 29% African American; 48.6% female) and all met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for a primary anxiety disorder. Independent evaluators (IEs) assessed clinical improvement, global functioning, and loss of anxiety diagnoses; children and parents completed measures of anxiety symptoms. At post-treatment, no significant treatment main effects emerged on the primary outcome; 42% and 37% of youth were classified as treatment responders in CBT and TAU respectively. However, parent-report of child anxiety showed greater improvements in CBT relative to TAU (d =.29). Moderation analyses at post-treatment indicated that older youth, those with social phobia and more severe anxiety at baseline were more likely to be treatment responders in CBT compared to TAU. At the 1 year follow-up, treatment gains were maintained but no treatment group differences or moderators emerged. CBT and TAU for pediatric anxiety disorders, when delivered by school clinicians were generally similar in effectiveness for lowering anxiety and improving functioning at both post-treatment (on all but the parent measure and for specific subgroups) and 1 year follow-up. Implications for disseminating CBT in the school setting are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-417
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Keywords

  • Child anxiety
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • School-based
  • Treatment
  • Treatment as usual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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