CBT for Comorbid Anxiety Disorders in Children With Autism, Asperger Syndrome, or PDD-NOS
This study is designed to examine the efficacy of a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program for treating anxiety symptoms, social problems, and adaptive behavior deficits in children with autism spectrum disorders.
Anxiety disorders are commonly diagnosed in children with autism, Asperger syndrome (AS), and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Anxiety disorders contribute to children's functional impairment over and above the functional deficits attributable to autism, AS, and PDD-NOS. Thus, investigators have called for the development of anxiety treatments for this population (Attwood, 2003). Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be efficacious for anxiety disorders in typically developing children. This pilot study will advance the field by providing an estimate of the treatment effects of CBT for anxiety disorders among children with autism, AS, or PDD-NOS. The sample will include 20 children aged 7-11 years with autism, AS, or PDD-NOS and a comorbid anxiety disorder. Children will be randomly assigned to immediate treatment or a 3-month waitlist. The manualized CBT program includes traditional anxiety treatment components including coping skills training (e.g., cognitive restructuring), in vivo exposure, operant procedures, and parent training. Additional treatment components have been added to enhance intervention response in children with AS or PDD-NOS, including emotion education, social skills/friendship skills training, and peer tutoring/mentoring modules. Trained graduate students with expertise in CBT and developmental disabilities will serve as therapists. Treatment fidelity will be checked using a session-by-session adherence checklist. Treatment acceptability and consumer satisfaction will be assessed at posttreatment, providing guidance on the extent to which the manual will need to be revised. Multiple measures of children's anxiety, including a structured diagnostic interview administered by an independent evaluator, will comprise the primary outcomes. Children's social functioning, adaptive behavior, and service use will also be assessed to determine if CBT can affect relevant distal outcomes. By comparing outcomes for children in the immediate treatment group versus those in the waitlist group, we will estimate effect sizes of CBT for this population. Subsequently, power analyses will be conducted in planning for a larger clinical trial. This study could contribute to public health efforts to address the mental health needs of the rising number of children diagnosed with autism-spectrum disorders. If CBT is found to be efficacious, it will be the first evidence-based psychological treatment to be successfully adapted for children with autism, AS, and PDD-NOS.
Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment
University of California, Los Angeles
Active, not recruiting
University of California, Los Angeles
Results (where available)
- Source: http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00280670
- Information obtained from ClinicalTrials.gov on July 15, 2010
Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions
A direct form of psychotherapy based on the interpretation of situations (cognitive structure of experiences) that determine how an individual feels and behaves. It is based on the premise that cognition, the process of acquiring knowledge and forming beliefs, is a primary determinant of mood and behavior. The therapy uses behavioral and verbal techniques to identify and correct negative thinking that is at the root of the aberrant behavior.
A childhood disorder predominately affecting boys and similar to autism (AUTISTIC DISORDER). It is characterized by severe, sustained, clinically significant impairment of social interaction, and restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. In contrast to autism, there are no clinically significant delays in language or cognitive development. (From DSM-IV)
A disorder beginning in childhood. It is marked by the presence of markedly abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication and a markedly restricted repertoire of activity and interest. Manifestations of the disorder vary greatly depending on the developmental level and chronological age of the individual. (DSM-IV)
The use of art as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of neurological, mental, or behavioral disorders.
Therapy whose primary emphasis is on the physical and social structuring of the environment to promote interpersonal relationships which will be influential in reducing behavioral disturbances of patients.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an effective intervention program for children with High-Functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder to remediate anxiety issues.
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