To conduct a meta-analysis on randomized, controlled treatment trials of pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Studies were included if they employed randomized, controlled methodology and treated young people (19 years or under) with OCD. A comprehensive literature search identified 13 RCTs containing 10 pharmacotherapy to control comparisons (N = 1016) and five cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to control comparisons (N = 161).
Random effects modeling yielded statistically significant pooled effect size (ES) estimates for pharmacotherapy (ES = .48, 95% CI = .36 to .61, p < .00001) and CBT (ES = 1.45, 95% CI = .68 to 2.22, p = .002). The results were robust to publication bias.
This is the first meta-analysis of treatment RCTs for pediatric OCD. CBT and pharmacotherapy were the only treatments effective beyond control in alleviating OCD symptoms. CBT showed a greater ES than pharmacotherapy. Previous meta-analyses that included uncontrolled trials exaggerated the efficacy of both treatments.
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