Assessing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Groups using SCARED Scores for Children and Adolescents with Anxiety Disorders
Background: Limited access and availability of behavioral health providers has led to increased interest in Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT). Recent studies have found Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy to be effective in treating Generalized Anxiety Disorders amongst children and adolescents.
Objective: It was hypothesized that children who attended 4 or more of the 8 cognitive behavioral group therapy sessions would have a decreased composite score on a standardized anxiety screen after the completion of therapy sessions.
Methods: A total of 9 patients aged 6 to 18 years (All with confirmed Anxiety disorder from behavioral health) and their parents completed the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED) before and after cognitive behavioral group therapy.
Results: Children and adolescents who fit the inclusion criteria displayed a decreased mean composite anxiety score on SCARED once therapy was completed, but this finding did not reach statistical significance. Parents who completed the baseline and post-therapy SCARED showed a statistically significant decrease in mean composite anxiety score.
Conclusion: Children and adolescents who completed CBGT did not have a statistically significant decrease in anxiety scores; however, the parents who completed SCARED on behalf of their child did show a statically significant decrease in anxiety scores. It is still important that CBGT sessions be continued at the Penn State Hershey Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic and those children and adolescents be urged to attend as many sessions as possible when enrolled in the sessions.