The present study aimed to assess the efficacy of a group-based, brief transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) program for adolescents with internalizing problems, such as anxiety and depressive disorders, seeking help in a primary health care clinic in Iceland. The group-based CBT program consisted of eight weekly 110-min sessions covering psychoeducation, cognitive restructuring, behavioral activation, exposure, problem-solving, social skills, and mindfulness. The study recruited 53 participants, who were randomly assigned to either receive the group treatment or be placed on a wait-list for monitoring purposes. Measures were taken at baseline, during treatment (week 4), at posttreatment (week 8), and at 2-, 4-month, and 1-year follow-ups. The primary outcome measures were the self-reported total scores of total anxiety and depression using the Revised Children's Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS). The study found a significant effect of time and time * treatment interaction on the depression and anxiety total scores. The secondary outcome measures, RCADS parent-rated depression and anxiety total scores, did not show significant effects of time * treatment interaction. However, during naturalistic follow-up, a significant reduction in parent-reported depression and anxiety total scores was observed. The study also observed good treatment adherence, as well as high satisfaction among parents and youth. The results suggest that this group-based, brief transdiagnostic CBT group treatment is feasible and effective in reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms in adolescents with internalizing problems and highlights the importance of addressing comorbidity in treatment.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was funded by the Memorial fund of Arnór Björnsson.
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
- Randomized controlled trial
- Transdiagnostic CBT