Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for child and adolescent obsessive-compulsive disorder

Paula M. Barrett, Lara Farrell, Armando Pina, Tara S. Peris, John Piacentini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Child and adolescent obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic and debilitating condition associated with a wide range of impairments. This article briefly discusses the phenomenology of OCD, the theory underlying current treatment approaches, and the extant psychosocial treatment literature for child and adolescent OCD relative to the criteria for classification as an evidence-based intervention. Studies were evaluated for methodological rigor according to the classification system of Nathan and Gorman (2002) and then were assessed relative to the criteria for evidence-based treatments specified by Chambless et al. (1998), Chambless et al. (1996), and Chambless and Hollon (1998). Results from exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) trials with children and adolescents have been consistent, with remission rates of the disorder ranging from 40% to 85% across studies. Findings from this review indicate that individual exposure-based CBT for child and adolescent OCD can be considered as a probably efficacious treatment. CBT delivered in a family-focused individual or group format can be considered as a possibly efficacious treatment. Moderators, mediators, and predictors of treatment outcome are discussed, as are implications and generalizability of extant findings to real-world settings. We conclude with recommendations for best practice and future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-155
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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