Sixty-one controlled clinical trials with a total of 4,953 participants were included in the review.
Six small trials were found on CBT for depressed children. Group CBT was found to be superior to waiting list and traditional counselling, but it was unclear if it was superior to an attention control condition.
Sixteen trials of CBT for depressed adolescents were identified. These were generally larger than the trials of depressed children. Low dosage CBT (defined as 5 to 8 sessions) delivered on an individual basis did not show a consistent benefit over control conditions. Trials with higher dose CBT had mixed results. Long-term results were unclear, with some studies maintaining a therapeutic advantage of CBT whilst others lost it.
One trial with methodological problems was found on the prevention of depression in children. Positive results for CBT were maintained at the 6-month follow-up.
Two trials of the prevention of depression in adolescents were identified. The results suggested that group CBT prevented depressive disorders for up to a year following the end of the programme.
Three medium-sized trials of IPT for depressed adolescents were identified. These suggested that IPT was more effective than clinical monitoring, treatment as usual and waiting list. Long-term follow-up data were limited.
Two trials compared individual CBT for children with specific phobias to inactive control conditions. Statistically significant reductions in symptoms were found, but long-term follow-up data were not available.
Two trials compared group CBT with a control condition for social phobia. Both found that treatment gains with CBT were maintained for up to one year following the end of the trial.
Seven trials of CBT for PTSD in children were found. Most were conducted in an individual format with the child and/or parent. The outcomes were mixed and the role of parental participation in the therapy was unclear.
Two trials of CBT for childhood OCD were found. Both found CBT to be effective.
Sixteen trials of group and individual CBT for mixed anxiety disorders were identified. All except one trial involving a waiting list demonstrated the superiority of CBT. One of two trials with a psychological placebo control found CBT to be superior. Both individual and group-based treatments were associated with significant improvements.
One trial of group CBT for social phobia in adolescents was identified. Symptoms were reduced with CBT but treatment gains were lost after one year.
One trial of group CBT/family therapy for PTSD in adolescents was identified. Some, but not all, outcomes were improved in comparison with a waiting-list control.
One trial of group CBT for mixed anxiety disorders in adolescents was identified. This trial showed promising results but had no follow-up data.
One trial of group CBT for the prevention of anxiety in children was identified. At 6 and 24 months, but not 12 months, the rate of anxiety disorders was significantly reduced for the group CBT condition compared with the waiting-list control.