Cognitive-behavioral therapy for children with anxiety and comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Karen L. Gould, Melanie Porter, Heidi J. Lyneham, Jennifer L. Hudson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine whether comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis (including subtype) predicts response to cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for anxiety in children and to examine change in ADHD symptoms after treatment of primary anxiety. Method: A sample of 842 children 5 to 18 years of age received CBT for a primary anxiety disorder. A subsample of 94 children met criteria for comorbid mild-to-moderate ADHD, mostly consisting of predominantly inattentive (n = 61) and combined (n = 27) subtypes. Outcome was defined as response (change in diagnostic severity) and remission (absence of the primary diagnosis) at each time point (after treatment and 3- and/or 6-month follow-up) and analyzed using linear and logistic mixed models. Results: Neither ADHD diagnosis nor subtype predicted response or remission rates for children's primary anxiety disorders. Children with ADHD also showed modest yet significant improvements in ADHD symptoms after CBT for anxiety. Conclusion: The present findings support the suitability of manual-based group-based CBT for anxiety treatment in children with nonprimary ADHD. Further research should examine whether the positive outcomes reported can be extended to children with primary or severe ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-490.e2
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • anxiety
  • psychology
  • ADHD
  • mental disorders
  • therapy

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