The CBT program was found to be significantly more effective than RT in decreasing OCD symptoms and, most importantly, helping a large number of children achieve clinical remission. Specifically, 69 percent of the children who completed all 14 weeks of CBT treatment achieved remission compared to 20 percent who fully completed the RT program. Even those children who started, but did not complete, the CBT program did well, with 50 percent achieving clinical remission
An important takeaway from this study is that children in this age range can actively participate in and benefit from CBT that is appropriately tailored to their cognitive developmental level, Freeman says. And from a research perspective, these findings are particularly promising because they demonstrate that its possible to recruit, treat and collect data about young children with OCD.
The family-based CBT method modeled in the study draws on successful approaches used with older children but also contains innovative elements that have been specifically tailored to children ages 5 to 8, with special attention paid to the childs cognitive and developmental level and awareness of a childs involvement in and dependence on a family system.
Freeman points out that there are a number of reasons why younger children experiencing OCD require this kind of tailored approach. Developmentally, younger children generally have less sophisticated emotion awareness and expression skills than older children. Also, younger children rely on parents for guidance and direction more so than older children and parents may be more likely to inadvertently reinforce or even actively accommodate a young childs rituals, she says.
Based on the studys findings, Freeman and colleagues offer the following clinical considerations and recommendations:
|Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes|