Protocol for a randomised controlled feasibility study examining the efficacy of brief cognitive therapy for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Adolescents (TAD-A).
Taylor L., Waite P., Halldorsson B., Percy R., Violato M., Creswell C.
BACKGROUND: Anxiety disorders affect a quarter of the population during their lifetime, and typically emerge in childhood or adolescence. Anxiety disorders disrupt young people's social, emotional and academic development and in the absence of treatment, often follow a chronic course. Although effective treatments, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), exist, only a small proportion of adolescents with anxiety disorders who need treatment receive them. Barriers to treatment provision include the fact that CBT typically requires 14-16 sessions by a highly qualified therapist and services are stretched - resulting in lengthy waiting lists and limited access to treatment. This highlights the importance of developing new ways of providing effective treatments for adolescent anxiety disorders. This study aims to assess the feasibility of a future, large-scale trial. This will give a clear indication of the likely success of running a randomised controlled trial to compare a new, brief cognitive therapy treatment to an existing CBT group therapy for adolescents with anxiety disorders. METHODS/DESIGN: The study will examine whether a definitive trial can be conducted on the basis of a feasibility RCT using a number of well-defined criteria. The feasibility RCT is a single-centre, randomised control trial. Forty-eight Young people (age 11-17.5 years) attending a university research clinic, who meet the diagnostic criteria for a DSM-5 anxiety disorder, will be randomly allocated to receive either (1) Adolescent Cognitive Therapy for Anxiety (ACTA), which involves six 60-90-min sessions and a booster session or (2) group CBT, which involves eight 2-h sessions and a booster session. As part of the feasibility indicators, patient outcomes, expectations and experiences, as well as health economic factors, will be assessed before, at the end of treatment and at a 3-month follow-up. DISCUSSION: The successful delivery of a future, definitive trial has the potential to bring direct benefits to young people and their families, adolescent mental health service providers, as well as benefits to adult mental health services and society more broadly by disrupting the negative trajectory commonly associated with adolescent anxiety disorders. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN, ID: ISRCTN86123204 . Retrospectively registered on 23 November 2017.