Efficacy of an internet-based CBT program for children with comorbid High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder and anxiety: a randomised controlled trial

Conaughton, Rebecca J. and Donovan, Caroline L. and March, Sonja (2017) Efficacy of an internet-based CBT program for children with comorbid High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder and anxiety: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of Affective Disorders, 218. pp. 260-268. ISSN 0165-0327

Abstract

Background
All trials conducted to date on BRAVE-ONLINE for youth anxiety disorders have excluded children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD) and therefore it is unknown whether these programs might be beneficial to HFASD children. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of BRAVE-ONLINE in HFASD children with an anxiety disorder.

Methods
Forty-two HFASD children, aged 8–12 years, with an anxiety disorder, and their parents, were randomly assigned to either the BRAVE-ONLINE condition (NET) or a waitlist control (WLC). Diagnostic interviews and parent/child questionnaires were completed at pre-treatment, post-treatment and 3-month follow-up.

Results
At post- assessment, compared to children in the WLC condition, children in the NET condition demonstrated a significantly greater reduction in number of anxiety diagnoses, clinical severity of diagnosis, and self and parent reported anxiety symptoms, as well as significantly greater increases in overall functioning. However, loss of primary diagnosis in this sample was lower than in previous studies.

Limitations
The small sample size, coupled with attrition rates, makes it difficult to generalise the findings of the study to HFASD population and to conduct analyses regarding mediators, moderators and predictors of outcomes.

Conclusions
The BRAVE-ONLINE program may be useful in reducing anxiety symptoms in HFASD children, although the effects are less strong than those found in neurotypical children for a variety of reasons.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version embargoed until 1 Sept 2018, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2018 02:24
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2018 02:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, HFASD, child anxiety, cognitive-behavior therapy, computer, internet
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2017.04.032
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/33653

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