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The purpose of the Child Anxiety Treatment Study is to learn more about how talk therapy influences children and adolescents with anxiety disorders.

Differences may exist in the brains of children with anxiety problems.  Researchers are interested in specific areas of the brain (like the Amygdala and the Prefrontal Cortex) that develop throughout childhood.

The study combines state of the art measures from neuroscience, measures of mood and behavior in natural environments, and measures of family and social context all within a developmentally-framed study.

Researchers hope to gain a better understanding of how the brain works, in order to improve interventions for children with anxiety.

Who is eligible?

Males and females age 9-14 with significant symptoms of an anxiety disorder, specifically:

-Seperation Anxiety Disorder

-Generalized Anxiety Disorder

-Social Phobia

Many children with co-morbid health and psychiatric issues will be eligible.

Common exclusion criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • Currently taking psychiatric medications, except for stimulant medication for ADHD-inattentive type

  • A current pregnancy

  • Has metal objects or devices in the body such as dental braces, metal plates, or pacemakers.  Dental fillings are allowable.


All children receive comprehensive, one-on-one therapy from highly trained professional clinicians.  The research setting is safe and comfortable.

Participants will be randomized into two comparative treatment groups.

2/3 of the children will receive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy while 1/3 will receive Child-Centered Therapy.  Both therapies are proven effective in treating childhood anxiety disorders. 

16 one hour talk therapy sessions.

All study participants will be compensated for their participation, and will receive free treatment.  In addition, free parking, public transportation vouchers, and snacks will be provided. 

If the study is not right for your patient, a referral will be made to aid in finding appropriate care.