Evidence-based youth psychotherapies versus usual clinical care: A meta-analysis of direct comparisons

John R. Weisz, Amanda Jensen-Doss, Kristin M. Hawley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

407 Scopus citations


In the debate over evidence-based treatments (EBTs) for youth, one question is central: Do EBTs produce better outcomes than the usual interventions employed in clinical care? The authors addressed this question through a meta-analysis of 32 randomized trials that directly compared EBTs with usual care. EBTs outperformed usual care. Effects fell within the small to medium range at posttreatment, increasing somewhat at follow-up. EBT superiority was not reduced by high levels of youth severity or by inclusion of minority youths. The findings underscore a need for improved study designs and detailed treatment descriptions. In the future, the EBT versus usual care genre can inform the search for the most effective interventions and guide treatment selection in clinical care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-689
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Children and adolescents
  • Evidence-based treatments
  • Meta-analysis
  • Psychotherapy
  • Treatment efficacy
  • Usual clinical care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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