Online Support and Intervention (OSI) for child anxiety: a case series within routine clinical practice.
Hill C., Chessell C., Percy R., Creswell C.
BACKGROUND: Online treatments for child anxiety offer a potentially cost-effective and non-stigmatizing means to widen access to evidence-based treatments and meet the increasing demand on services; however, uptake in routine clinical practice remains a challenge. This study conducted an initial evaluation of the clinical effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability of OSI (Online Support and Intervention for child anxiety) within clinical practice. OSI is a co-designed online therapist-supported, parent-led CBT treatment for pre-adolescent children with anxiety problems. METHOD: This case series was part of routine service evaluation in a clinic in England where families were offered OSI to treat a primary anxiety difficulty among 7- to 12-year-old children; 24 families were offered OSI, and 23 took it up. Measures of anxiety symptomatology, functional impairment and progress towards therapeutic goals were taken at pre-treatment, post-treatment and 4-week follow-up. Treatment satisfaction and engagement were also measured throughout the intervention. RESULTS: Mean anxiety symptoms significantly improved to below the clinical cut-off post-treatment, with further reduction at follow-up. Functional impairment also significantly improved and significant progress was made towards treatment goals. The majority of children showed reliable change in anxiety symptoms and reliable recovery by follow-up, and were discharged without needing further treatment for anxiety. Uptake, adherence and engagement in OSI were excellent, and parents reported high levels of satisfaction with the treatment. CONCLUSIONS: We have provided initial evidence that OSI is feasible, acceptable to families, and appears to be associated with good outcomes within routine clinical practice.