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Comparing the Effectiveness of Two Family-based Therapies in Treating Young Children With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

This study has been completed.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Jennifer B. Freeman, Rhode Island Hospital Identifier:
First received: September 19, 2007
Last updated: March 7, 2013
Last verified: March 2013
This study will compare the effectiveness of family-based cognitive behavioral therapy to family-based relaxation therapy in treating young children with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Condition Intervention Phase
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Behavioral: Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Behavioral: Relaxation Therapy
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Family Based Treatment for Early Childhood OCD

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Rhode Island Hospital:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale [ Time Frame: Measured immediately post-treatment and at Months 3, 6, and 12 ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Clinical Global Improvement [ Time Frame: Measured immediately post-treatment and at Months 3, 6, and 12 ]

Enrollment: 127
Study Start Date: October 2007
Study Completion Date: January 2013
Primary Completion Date: October 2012 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Cognitive behavioral therapy
Participants will receive cognitive behavioral therapy.
Behavioral: Cognitive Behavior Therapy
CBT includes 12 treatment sessions over 14 weeks. The sessions deliver family-based exposure with response prevention. Participants assigned to receive CBT will learn skills to help control OCD. CBT sessions will also include education about OCD, family therapy, parent training to manage child behavior problems, and anxiety management.
Active Comparator: Relaxation therapy.
Participants will receive relaxation therapy.
Behavioral: Relaxation Therapy
Relaxation therapy includes 12 sessions delivered over 14 weeks. Participants assigned to receive relaxation therapy will discuss general family functioning, issues related to OCD, and other behavioral problems the child may be experiencing.

Detailed Description:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder that affects approximately 1 in 200 children. Although feelings of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty are a normal part of life and growing up, for some children these feelings and emotions become chronic, relentless, and progressively worse if left untreated. OCD is characterized by obsessions, or repeated unsettling thoughts, causing a person to perform repeated actions called compulsions. Children are typically not diagnosed with OCD until they are between the ages of 8 and 12, leaving many young children undiagnosed. Additionally, no psychotherapy treatments have been designed for young children who are under the age of 8 and have OCD. The purpose of this study is to develop and evaluate a family-based treatment program for children, ages 5 to 8, who have been diagnosed with OCD.

Participants in this open-label study will be randomly assigned to receive either cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or relaxation therapy for 12 sessions over a period of 14 weeks. All children will undergo a 3-hour screening that will include a psychiatric evaluation and the completion of questionnaires. Parents of participating children will attend the first two treatment sessions without their children during which they will be introduced to the treatment program and will learn various skills to be used throughout treatment. The other 10 1-hour sessions will be attended by both the parent and child. Participants assigned to receive CBT will learn skills to help control OCD. Education about OCD, family therapy, parent training to manage child behavior problems, and anxiety management will be included in the CBT sessions. Participants assigned to receive relaxation therapy will discuss general family functioning, issues related to OCD, and other behavioral problems the child may be experiencing. Treatment will also include education about OCD; affective education, during which participants will learn how to recognize feelings; muscle relaxation techniques; and guided imagery. Participants in both treatment groups will receive weekly homework assignments after each session to practice skills learned. Parents will also be asked to monitor their child's behavior and practice the learned skills with their child as often as possible. If treatment has not been successful after the 14-week period, the child will be offered an alternative treatment. All participants will be assessed before treatment; at 5, 9, and 14 weeks of treatment; and at 3, 6, and 12 months after treatment.


Ages Eligible for Study:   5 Years to 8 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Meets DSM-IV criteria for OCD
  • Parent willing to sign informed consent

Exclusion Criteria:

  • History or current diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder(s), thought disorder, or mental retardation
  • Psychotic symptoms
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00533806

United States, North Carolina
Duke Child and Family Study Center
Durham, North Carolina, United States, 27705
United States, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19104
United States, Rhode Island
Brown Medical School/ Rhode Island Hospital/ Pediatric Anxiety Research Clinic
Providence, Rhode Island, United States, 02903
Sponsors and Collaborators
Rhode Island Hospital
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Jennifer B. Freeman, PhD Rhode Island Hospital/ Brown Medical School
Principal Investigator: Marty Franklin, PhD University of Pennsylvania
Principal Investigator: John S. March, MD Duke University
  More Information

Additional Information:
Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Jennifer B. Freeman, Director, Outpatient Child Psychiatry; Staff Psychologist, Rhode Island Hospital Identifier: NCT00533806     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R01MH079217 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: September 19, 2007
Last Updated: March 7, 2013

Keywords provided by Rhode Island Hospital:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Active Control
Relaxation Therapy
Young Children

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Compulsive Personality Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Compulsive Behavior
Personality Disorders
Mental Disorders
Anxiety Disorders
Impulsive Behavior processed this record on May 22, 2017