BACKGROUND: Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective for children and adolescents (6-18 years) with anxiety disorders, but the non-response rate is high-a fact that may argue for the importance of studies on pre-treatment characteristics of children and their families that predict treatment outcome. AIMS: To provide a systematic review of clinical and demographic pre-treatment child and family predictors of treatment outcome in CBT for anxiety disorders in youth. METHOD: A systematic literature search was conducted based on electronic databases (PsycINFO, Embase and PubMed), and retrieved studies were analysed according to the box-score method of counting significant findings. RESULTS: 24 studies with a sample size ≥ 60 were located. Most studies dealt with the following predictors: child age, gender, comorbidity, symptom severity and parental psychopathology. There was some evidence that a higher degree of pre-treatment symptomatic severity and non-anxiety comorbidity predicted higher end-state severity, but not a lesser degree of improvement. There was some but inconsistent support for a negative influence of parental psychopathology. CONCLUSION: Studies on pre-treatment child and family predictors of outcome in CBT for youth anxiety disorders have until now resulted in few findings of clinical or theoretical significance.
Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 2014, Vol 68, Issue 8, p. 524-535