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Evaluation of reliable improvement rates in depression and anxiety at the end of treatment in adolescents

  • Julian Edbrooke-Childs (a1), Miranda Wolpert (a2), Victoria Zamperoni (a3), Elisa Napoleone (a3) and Holly Bear (a4)...
Abstract
Background

Literature has focused on effect sizes rather than individual-level improvement rates to determine how effectively services address burgeoning numbers of adolescents with anxiety and depression.

Aims

To consider how many adolescents report reliable improvement in anxiety, depression and comorbid depression and anxiety by end of treatment.

Method

The primary outcome was reliable improvement (i.e. change greater than likely the result of measurement error) in self-reported anxiety and depression for N = 4464 adolescents (mean age 14.5 years, s.d. = 1.9; 75% female; 61% White) seen in specialist mental health services in England.

Results

In total, 53% of those with anxiety, 44% with depression, and 35% with comorbid depression and anxiety showed reliable improvement.

Conclusions

Improvement rates were higher than previously reported, but lower than generally used in advice to the public. There may be a need to set more realistic expectations, including with young people who seek help.

Declaration of interest

All authors were involved in the programme of service transformation that this report draws on. M.W. led the outcomes and evaluation group that agreed the approach to measurement used in the initiative.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Miranda Wolpert, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, 12–14 Jordan House, London N1 6EB, UK. Email: miranda.wolpert@ucl.ac.uk
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These authors are joint first authors.

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References
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Evaluation of reliable improvement rates in depression and anxiety at the end of treatment in adolescents

  • Julian Edbrooke-Childs (a1), Miranda Wolpert (a2), Victoria Zamperoni (a3), Elisa Napoleone (a3) and Holly Bear (a4)...
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