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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Florida International: Study Finds That Effectively Treating Childhood Anxiety Can be Done for Less

Researchers at Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work along with the Center for Children and Families have found computer-based interventions can cut childhood anxiety treatment costs nearly in half.

Findings show families can significantly reduce costs — without compromising effectiveness of treatment — by implementing a stepped approach. This means starting with low intensity treatments such as computer-administered treatment sessions, then stepping up to standard, higher intensity interventions including in-person cognitive behavioral therapy.

Using Florida Medicaid rates for mental health services, researchers determined the total cost of standard treatment was $780 per child. Applying the stepped approach, the average total cost dropped almost 45 percent to $433 per child.

Standard treatment for anxiety consists of several sessions of cognitive behavior therapy which takes a great amount of time and resources. However, research showed 69 percent of children with anxiety who first completed an eight-session computer-based intervention had significant improvement and spent half the amount of time with a therapist than those who only received cognitive behavior therapy.

“The amount of cost savings generated by the stepped approach was significant and suggests large system-wide savings if similar approaches are adopted on a large scale,” said FIU health economics expert Timothy F. Page of the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, who conducted the cost analysis for the study. “Innovative approaches that reduce the cost of treatment can ensure that resources are available to treat those in need.”

For more, click here Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology