Social anxiety disorder (SoAD) in youth is often treated with a generic form of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Some studies have suggested that primary SoAD is associated with lower recovery rates following generic CBT compared with other anxiety disorders.AIMS: This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated recovery rates following generic CBT for youth with primary SoAD versus other primary anxiety disorders.
Five databases (PsycINFO, Web of Science, PubMed, Embase, Medline) were searched for randomised controlled trials of generic CBT for child and/or adolescent anxiety.
Ten trials met criteria for inclusion in the systematic review, six of which presented sufficient data for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Sixty-seven did not report data on recovery rates relative to primary diagnosis. While most individual studies included in the systematic review were not sufficiently powered to detect a difference in recovery rates between diagnoses, there was a pattern of lower recovery rates for youth with primary SoAD. Across the trials included in the meta-analysis, the post-CBT recovery rate from primary SoAD (35%) was significantly lower than the recovery rate from other primary anxiety disorders (54%).
Recovery from primary SoAD is significantly less likely than recovery from any other primary anxiety disorder following generic CBT in youth. This suggests a need for research to enhance the efficacy of CBT for youth SoAD.
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