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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 46 (2004) 3, 167 - 177


Anxiety disorders in children: which type of psychosocial treatment has proved effective?

S.L.M. van der Toorn, R.F. Ferdinand

background Cognitive behavioural intervention programmes are known to be effective in the treatment of childhood anxiety disorders.
aim To provide an answer to the question: which type of psychosocial treatment should be used with children suffering from anxiety disorders? The article also aims to promote evidence-based treatment. method We reviewed the literature that deals with the effects of cognitive behavioural in-terventions on children suffering from separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, simple phobia, and generalised anxiety disorder. This article is concerned solely with the results of randomised controlled trials. results Cognitive behavioural treatment proved effective in 18 intervention studies that we located and reviewed. The results of the various types of cognitive behavioural treatment applied were not affected by the different modes of implementation (group treatment versus individual treatment, inclusion or exclusion of parent training).
conclusion The treatment of anxiety disorders in children should start with a cognitive behavioural intervention programme.

keywords anxiety disorders, children, treatment