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Internet Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (ICBT) Effective Even For Children

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: April 3, 2019

Internet Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (ICBT) Effective Even For Children

Research has repeatedly shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorder, depression, stress disorder, and even sleep disorders (insomnia, sleep dread).[1]

Research has also repeatedly shown that CBT delivered at a distance via telephone (teletherapy) or over the Internet (ICBT) is just as effective, if not more effective than delivered in person for adolescents and adults.[2][3][4][5]

The latest research has found that ICBT is also efficacious even for children (ages 8 to 12 years old).[6] The research findings are published as:

Between March 11, 2015, and Oct 21, 2016, 131 participants were recruited and allocated to either ICBT (n=66) or internet-delivered child-directed play (n=65). The clinician-assessed severity rating of the principal anxiety disorder improved significantly after the 12-weeks treatment period for participants in both ICBT (within-group effect size 1·22, 95% CI 0·78–1·65) and the active control (0·72, 0·44–1·00) groups. However, greater improvement was seen with ICBT than with the active control (estimated mean difference 0·79, 95% CI 0·42–1·16, p=0·002; between-group effect size 0·77, 95% CI 0·40–1·15). 29 (48%) participants in the ICBT group no longer had their principal diagnosis, compared to nine (15%) in the active control group (odds ratio 5·41, 95% CI 2·26 to 12·90, p <0·0001); the number needed to treat for ICBT to gain one additional participant in remission was three (95% CI 2·85 to 3·15). ICBT resulted in an average societal-cost saving of €493·05 (95% CI 477·17 to 508·92) per participant. No severe adverse events were reported.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded:

“ICBT is an efficacious and cost-effective treatment for paediatric anxiety disorders that should be considered for implementation in routine clinical care.”

Anxietycentre.com has been delivering CBT at a distance (via telephone and over the Internet) since 2004. Our experiences agree with the above research.

You can read the press release for this research here.

Disclaimer: anxietycentre.com is not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted at anxietycentre.com by contributing institutions or for the use of any information throughout anxietycentre.com's system.

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1. Otte, Christian. “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Anxiety Disorders: Current State of the Evidence.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3263389/.

2. “The Effectiveness of Internet Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (ICBT) for Social Anxiety Disorder across Two Routine Practice Pathways.” NeuroImage, Academic Press, 8 Nov. 2014, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214782914000311.

3. Williams, Alishia D, and Gavin Andrews. “The Effectiveness of Internet Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT) for Depression in Primary Care: A Quality Assurance Study.” PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0057447.

4. Kumar, Vikram, et al. “The Effectiveness of Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 29 Aug. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5659300/.

5. Sijbrandij, M, et al. “EFFECTIVENESS OF INTERNET-DELIVERED COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY FOR POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND meta-ANALYSIS.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27322710.

6. Jolstedt, Maral, et al. “Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness of Therapist-Guided Internet Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Paediatric Anxiety Disorders: a Single-Centre, Single-Blind, Randomised Controlled Trial.” NeuroImage, Academic Press, 18 Sept. 2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S235246421830275X?via%3Dihub.

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