Online CBT for preschool anxiety disorders: a randomised control trial.
Abstract The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of an internet-based, therapist assisted, parent-focussed, CBT program for preschoolers with anxiety disorders. Fifty-two children aged 3–6 years were randomly allocated into internet treatment (NET) and waitlist control (WLC) groups. Parents completed diagnostic interviews and online questionnaires at pre-treatment, post-treatment and 6-month follow-up. Results at post-treatment showed a significantly greater reduction in clinical severity, anxiety symptoms and internalising behaviour, as well as a greater increase in overall functioning for children in the NET compared to the WLC condition. However, group differences were not evident from pre- to post-treatment on the percentages of children who lost their primary anxiety diagnosis or who lost all anxiety diagnoses. At post-treatment for the completer sample, 39.1% of the NET children compared to 25.9% of the WLC were free of their primary diagnosis. At 6-month follow-up, treatment gains were maintained in the case of overall functioning and further improved upon with respect to clinical severity, anxiety symptoms and internalising behaviour. By 6-month follow-up for the completer sample, 70.6% of children were free of their primary diagnosis. The results suggest that an internet program for preschool anxiety is feasible, efficacious and well received by parents. Australian Clinical Trial Registration Number ACTRN12612000139875.