Brief, Non-Pharmacological, Interventions for Pediatric Anxiety: Meta-Analysis and Evidence Base Status

Ryan D. Stoll, Armando A. Pina, Jessica Schleider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In 1998, Ost published [One-session treatment of specific phobias–a rapid and effective method] [in Swedish] giving rise to the idea that brief, intensive, and concentrated psychosocial interventions could exhibit public health impact. At this juncture, and per criteria of the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, there are data supporting that brief, non-pharmacological intervention [prescriptions] for pediatric anxiety can be considered well-established or probably efficacious. In addition, data from 76 randomized controlled trials (N = 17,203 youth) yield an overall mean effect size of 0.19 on pediatric anxiety outcomes (pre-post). Note, however, that effect sizes vary significantly. These data point to the capacity for clinical change coming from in-vivo exposures for specific phobias (~3 h, one session), CBT with social skills training (~3 h, six sessions for indicated prevention and early intervention), and CBT-based parent training (~6 h, eight digital modules with clinician support). Given such evidence, we recommend efforts be made to establish ways to position such treatment innovations for rapid deployment facilitated by high-quality training, monitoring, technical assistance, and ongoing disclosures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-459
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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