Treatment Outcomes in Anxious Youth with and without Comorbid ADHD in the CAMS

Thorhildur Halldorsdottir*, Thomas H. Ollendick, Golda Ginsburg, Joel Sherrill, Philip C. Kendall, John Walkup, Dara J. Sakolsky, John Piacentini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), independent of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), on acute treatment response, remission rates and maintenance of gains at 6-month follow-up in anxious youth (ages 7–17, 76% Caucasian, 52% female) who received cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) alone, pharmacotherapy alone, the combination of CBT and pharmacotherapy or placebo pill in the Child/Adolescent Multimodal Study. Treatment response was defined as independent evaluator rated meaningful improvement in anxiety. Remission was operationalized as the absence of targeted anxiety disorders. ADHD and ODD were examined as moderators of outcomes at a diagnostic level. In the CBT group only, an ADHD diagnosis predicted poorer immediate treatment response and remission rates. However, these associations were not obtained for the pharmacotherapy groups. Participants with comorbid ODD were not less likely to achieve acute treatment response and remission rates than their counterparts across treatment conditions. Due to small sample size of the comorbid subgroups, our analyses must be considered preliminary. Nevertheless, our initial findings suggest further exploration of the separate roles of ADHD and ODD are worth pursuing, as they may be differentially associated with treatment outcomes in anxious youth treated with CBT but not youth treated with pharmacotherapy. If confirmed, findings may indicate that anxious youth with comorbid ADHD are less likely to benefit from CBT strategies alone and raise the possibility that these youth need adjunctive pharmacotherapy or psychosocial interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-991
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2015

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