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Family-focused treatment may help resistant OCD.

AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY

SAN FRANCISCO--An innovative family-focused treatment program for complex cases of pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder that looked promising in a randomized, controlled pilot trial of 20 families has now accumulated experience with 35 families

A larger study is being planned of the adjunctive positive family interaction therapy (PFIT) that families in the prospective pilot study seemed to embrace, Tara S. Penis, Ph.D., said at the meeting. The study recruited families based on a primary diagnosis of pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and an assessment of poor family functioning, and then randomized them to receive six sessions of standard therapy with individual child cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or to standard therapy plus PFIT.

Seven of 10 patients in the PFIT group and 4 of 10 controls responded after six treatment sessions, as assessed on the Clinical Global Impressions of Improvement (CGI-I) scale by blinded raters. The 40% response rate in the control group "parallels what's in other studies," noted Dr. Pens of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles.

On the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS) of symptom severity, 5 of 10 patients in the PFIT group achieved remission, compared with 2 of 10 in the control group, reported Dr. Pens and her colleague, John Piacentini, Ph.D. (J. Clin. Child Adolesc. Psychol. 2012 [doi: 10.1080/15374416.2012.673162]).

No families dropped out of the study, and 16 of the 20 families completed 3 months of follow-up. Youths in both groups maintained any gains at the 3-month follow-up. In the PFIT group, mothers and fathers attended 95% of the family therapy sessions together, and among PFIT families with siblings of the youth with OCD, 6 brought a sibling to at least one session.

CBT alone is the frontline treatment tor mild to moderate pediatric OCD, "but we're not here to talk about those kids," Dr. Peris said. Previous studies have shown that 46%-79% of youths with OCD fail treatment with CBT, medication, or a combination of the two, depending on the treatment.

The study targeted treatment-resistant patients who also had dysfunctional families, which previous data identified as a predictor of poor response to CBT treatment for OCD.

Dr. Penis and her associates had earlier identified three characteristics of dysfunctional families that interfere with a family's ability to stop accommodating OCD symptoms: blame, family conflict, and poor family cohesion. These factors have an additive effect: Only 14% of youths in families with all three factors responded to CBT, compared with 93% in families with none of these characteristics, they reported (J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 2012;80:255-63).

"These features argue for some degree of family intervention in pediatric OCD treatment," she said. PFIT aims to reduce hostility and blame, increase family cohesion, and reduce OCD accommodation to enhance the efficacy of exposure-based CBT.

Previous family interventions tended to rely on psychoeducation, with limited success in changing family dynamics, she noted. PFIT provides psycho education but also focuses on increasing parental self-efficacy, providing parents with skills training in emotion regulation, and improving parenting skills such as scaffolding (recognizing the level of skill the child has mastered and thinking of one level beyond that). In the study, mothers in the PFIT group reported significantly lower levels of blame at week 24, compared with mothers in the control group.

s.boschert@elseyier.com On Twitter @sherryboschert
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Title Annotation:CHILD/ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY
Author:Boschert, Sherry
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Article Type:Clinical report
Date:Feb 1, 2013
Words:572
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