Improving Access to Child Anxiety Treatment (IMPACT)

  • End date
    Feb 1, 2025
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Bradley Hospital
Updated on 4 October 2022
behavior therapy
behavioral therapy
cognitive therapy
exposure therapy
anxiety treatment
anxiety disorder


There is strong evidence that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with exposure is the preferred treatment for youth with anxiety disorders, but outpatient services that provide this type of treatment are limited. Even for those who do have access to anxiety-specific treatment, a traditional outpatient model of treatment delivery may not be suitable. Among the numerous logistical barriers to treatment access and response is the inability to generalize treatment tools to settings outside of the office. Patient-centered (home-based or telehealth; patient-centered telehealth closed as of 5/1/21) treatment models that target symptoms in the context in which they occur could be more effective, efficient, and accessible for families. The present study aims to compare the efficacy, efficiency, and feasibility of patient centered home-based CBT and patient centered telehealth CBT with a traditional office-based model of care. The question proposed, including proposed outcomes, have been generated and developed by a group of hospital, payer, patient and family stakeholders who will also contribute to the iterative process of protocol revision. The investigators anticipate 379 anxious youth to be randomized to receive outpatient treatment using telehealth (patient-centered telehealth closed as of 5/1/21), home-based services, or treatment as usual using a traditional outpatient model. Results of this study are expected to provide evidence for the efficacy and efficiency of patient-centered treatment, as well as increase treatment access and family engagement in the treatment process.


Anxiety disorders are a significant public health problem that cause suffering for youth and their families, derail normal childhood development, and when left untreated persist into adulthood with high societal costs. Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT) including exposure therapy is the treatment of choice, yet multiple barriers limit access to care. Even for families with access to care, traditional provider-centered (office based) treatment presents challenges and can limit effectiveness for many youth and families. Home- and Community-based exposure therapy is efficacious for patients who previously did not improve with provider-centered services, and input from family stakeholders suggests that treatment in these settings is an optimal match for their needs. Patient-centered models involving home visits and provider teams have consistently demonstrated increased treatment accessibility and engagement. However, there has been no comprehensive comparison of exposure delivered by patient-centered teams using home visits versus by provider-centered office visits alone for childhood anxiety. The absence of comparative effectiveness research (CER) data impedes targeted use of patient centered versus traditional outpatient treatment and would better allocate limited resources, provide the best quality care, and help patients and families make educated decisions about their treatment choices. Telehealth has strong evidence for effectiveness for youth with anxiety and OCD when delivered by a licensed provider, with treatment responder rates ranging from 73-82% (Carpenter, et al., 2018; Comer et al., 2017; Storch et al., 2011). Although traditional telehealth treatments can address barriers associated with in-person treatment, it has yet to be leveraged to increase service capacity. The overall goal of this proposal is to compare two models of service delivery, patient-centered delivery (utilizing novel deployment of personnel both in-home and via telehealth, patient-centered telehealth closed as of 5/1/21) vs. traditional provider-centered delivery, of CBT in youth ages 5-18 receiving exposure therapy for anxiety. A total of 379 children will be treated, with 166 (or 167) children randomly assigned to provider-centered, 166 (or 167) assigned to patient-centered in-home, and 46 assigned to patient-centered telehealth treatment conditions. The patient-centered telehealth condition was added in 2020 in response the COVID-19 global pandemic and closed when the recruitment goal was reached in May 2021. Telehealth treatment models are a necessary health system adaptation in the current health crisis, but also may improve access to care post pandemic. We hope including telehealth as a comparator in our service delivery compared effectiveness trial will be highly informative and relevant for the future mental healthcare landscape.

A trained independent evaluator (IE) blind to condition will measure patient and family treatment engagement, anxiety symptoms/severity, and functional impairment at baseline, during active treatment at weeks 6, 12, 18, and 24, and 3- and 6-month follow-up after acute treatment. The primary aims are to compare the relative effectiveness of patient-centered vs. provider-centered treatment for: 1) improving family treatment engagement/satisfaction, 2) reducing anxiety symptoms, and 3) reducing associated disability (quality of life and functional impairment). Secondary outcomes are to understand moderators of treatment response including: severity of illness, caregiver burden/family accommodation, and barriers to treatment access and to explore group differences in time course of response, durability of treatment gains, provider volume/capacity and efficiency in patient centered versus provider centered treatment.

Condition Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Pediatric Disorder, Anxiety, OCD, Phobia, Agoraphobia, Generalized Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Selective Mutism, Separation Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder
Treatment Exposure therapy
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03528109
SponsorBradley Hospital
Last Modified on4 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

age 5-18 inclusive
primary or co-primary DSM-V diagnosis of anxiety or OCD
symptom duration of at least 3 months
outpatient care needed
presence of a stable parent, or guardian, who can participate in treatment

Exclusion Criteria

other primary or co-primary psychiatric disorder which requires initiation of other active current treatment
documented mental retardation
thought disorder or psychotic symptoms
conduct disorder
acute suicidality
concurrent psychotherapy
chronic medical illness that would preclude their active participation in treatment
treatment with psychotropic medication that is not stable
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