: By understanding specific differences between responders to a treatment and non-responders, treatment modalities may be fitted to the individual in order to increase effectiveness, a concept known as "precision medicine". This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated which pretreatment patient and family characteristics may predict the outcome of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in clinically anxious and/or depressed youth. In particular, higher symptom severity, more severe co-occurring anxiety or depression and more severe parental psychopathology were hypothesized to predict a worse CBT outcome.
: The databases PubMed, PsycINFO and Cochrane Library were searched; 73 publications were included in the review from which 23 studies were used for the meta-analysis.
: Higher symptom severity represented a clinically relevant predictor of a worse CBT outcome, with large effects estimated by meta-analysis. Further, parental psychopathology was significant and detrimental for CBT outcome in anxious but not depressed youth, while the effects for co-occurring anxiety and depression remained unclear. The additional results of the review show that only few characteristics seemed to be clearly associated with a worse CBT outcome, namely worse coping skills and, restricted to depressed patients, more non-suicidal self-injury. Limitations: The available evidence was of only moderate quality in general, further high-quality research with more transparent reporting is needed.
: The patient characteristics identified as being relevant for CBT outcome may represent important candidates for use in single patient prediction models for precision medicine in the field of child and adolescent psychotherapy. The review was preregistered on PROSPERO (ID: CRD42018116881). (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)
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