Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Anxious Adolescents: Developmental Influences on Treatment Design and Delivery

Abstract

Anxiety disorders in adolescence are common and disruptive, pointing to a need for effective treatments for this age group. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular interventions for adolescent anxiety, and there is empirical support for its application. However, a significant proportion of adolescent clients continue to report anxiety symptoms post-treatment. This paper underscores the need to attend to the unique developmental characteristics of the adolescent period when designing and delivering treatment, in an effort to enhance treatment effectiveness. Informed by the literature from developmental psychology, developmental psychopathology, and clinical child and adolescent psychology, we review the 'why' and the 'how' of developmentally appropriate CBT for anxious adolescents. 'Why' it is important to consider developmental factors in designing and delivering CBT for anxious adolescents is addressed by examining the age-related findings of treatment outcome studies and exploring the influence of developmental factors, including cognitive capacities, on engagement in CBT. 'How' clinicians can developmentally tailor CBT for anxious adolescents in six key domains of treatment design and delivery is illustrated with suggestions drawn from both clinically and research-oriented literature. Finally, recommendations are made for research into developmentally appropriate CBT for anxious adolescents.

DOI: 10.1007/s10567-009-0058-z

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@article{Sauter2009CognitiveBT, title={Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Anxious Adolescents: Developmental Influences on Treatment Design and Delivery}, author={Floor M. Sauter and David A. Heyne and P. Michiel Westenberg}, journal={Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review}, year={2009}, volume={12}, pages={310 - 335} }