An Open Trial Investigation of a Transdiagnostic Group Treatment for Children With Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms

Emily L. Bilek, Jill Ehrenreich-May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The current study investigates the feasibility and preliminary outcomes associated with a transdiagnostic emotion-focused group protocol for the treatment of anxiety disorders and depressive symptoms in youth. Twenty-two children (ages 7 to 12; M=9.79) with a principal anxiety disorder and varying levels of comorbid depressive symptoms were enrolled in an open trial of the Emotion Detectives Treatment Protocol (EDTP; Ehrenreich-May & Bilek, 2009), an intervention adapted from existent unified protocols for the treatment of emotional disorders among adults and adolescents. Results indicate that participants experienced significant improvements in clinician-rated severity of principal anxiety disorder diagnoses (d=1.38), the sum of all anxiety and depressive disorder severity ratings (d=1.07), and child-reported anxiety (d=0.47) and parent-reported depressive symptoms (d=0.54) at the posttreatment assessment. EDTP had good retention rates and reports of high satisfaction. Thus, preliminary evidence suggests that EDTP is a feasible and potentially efficacious treatment of youth anxiety disorders and co-occurring depressive symptoms. Children experiencing a range of internalizing symptoms may benefit from this more generalized, emotion-focused treatment modality, as it offers flexibility to families and the mental health clinician, while maintaining a concurrent focus on the provision of cognitive-behavioral treatment skills vital to the amelioration of anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms in youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-897
Number of pages11
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Anxiety disorders
  • Children
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Group treatment
  • Transdiagnostic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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