Examine the efficacy of a parent-augmented One-Session Treatment (A-OST) in treating specific phobias (SP) in youth by comparing this novel treatment to child-focused OST, a well-established treatment.
A total of 97 youth (ages 6–15, 51.5% female, 84.5% White) who fulfilled diagnostic criteria for SP were randomized to either A-OST or OST. SPs were assessed with semistructured diagnostic interviews, clinician improvement ratings, and parent and child improvement ratings. In addition, measures of treatment satisfaction and parental self-efficacy were obtained. Blind assessments were completed pretreatment, posttreatment, and 1 month and 6 months following treatment. Analyses were undertaken using mixed models. In addition, gender, age, internalizing/externalizing problems, parent overprotection, and parent anxiety were examined as potential predictors and moderators of treatment outcome.
Both treatment conditions produced similar outcomes with approximately 50% of youth in both treatments diagnosis free and judged to be much or very much improved at posttreatment and 1-month follow-up. At 6-month follow-up, however, the treatments diverged with OST resulting in marginally superior outcomes to A-OST, contrary to predictions. Only age of child predicted treatment outcome across the two treatments (older children did better); unexpectedly, none of the variables moderated treatment outcomes.
Parent augmentation of OST produced no appreciable gains in treatment outcomes. Directions for future research are highlighted.