Child- and Family-Focused CBT for Pediatric Bipolar Disorder

OBJECTIVE: Previous studies have found that family-based psychosocial treatments are effective adjuncts to pharmacotherapy among adults and adolescents with bipolar disorder (BD). The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy of adjunctive child- and family-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CFF-CBT) to psychotherapy as usual (control) for mood symptom severity and global functioning in children with BD.

METHOD: Sixty-nine youth, aged 7 to 13 years (mean = 9.19, SD = 1.61) with DSM-IV-TR bipolar I, II, or not otherwise specified (NOS) disorder were randomly assigned to CFF-CBT or control groups. Both treatments consisted of 12 weekly sessions followed by 6 monthly booster sessions delivered over a total of 9 months. Independent evaluators assessed participants at baseline, week 4, week 8, week 12 (posttreatment), and week 39 (6-month follow-up).

RESULTS: Participants in CFF-CBT attended more sessions, were less likely to drop out, and reported greater satisfaction with treatment than controls. CFF-CBT demonstrated efficacy compared to the control treatment in reducing parent-reported mania at posttreatment and depression symptoms at posttreatment and follow-up. Global functioning did not differ at posttreatment but was higher among CFF-CBT participants at follow-up.

CONCLUSION: CFF-CBT may be efficacious in reducing acute mood symptoms and improving long-term psychosocial functioning among children with BD.

West, A. E., Weinstein, S. M., Peters, A. T., Katz, A. C., Henry, D. B., Cruz, R. A., & Pavuluri, M. N. ( 2014). Child- and Family-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53, 11, 1168.

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