Long-term Service Use Among Youths Previously Treated for Anxiety Disorder

Tara S. Peris*, Catherine A. Sugar, Michelle S. Rozenman, John T. Walkup, Anne Marie Albano, Scott Compton, Dara Sakolsky, Golda Ginsburg, Courtney Keeton, Philip C. Kendall, James T. McCracken, John Piacentini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: (1) To describe rates of long-term service use among subjects previously enrolled in a landmark study of youth anxiety disorder treatment and followed into early adulthood; (2) to examine predictors of long-term service use; and (3) to examine the relationship between anxiety diagnosis and service use over time. Method: The Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Extended Long-term Study prospectively assessed youths treated through the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study at ages 7–17 years into early adulthood. A total of 319 youths (mean age 17.7, 55.2% female) previously randomized to cognitive-behavioral therapy, sertraline, combination, or placebo for the treatment of anxiety participated; 318 had service use data. Four annual clinic assessments were conducted along with telephone check-ins every 6 months. Results: Overall, 65.1% of participants endorsed receiving some form of anxiety treatment over the course of the follow-up period, with more subjects reporting medication use than psychotherapy; 35.2% reported consistent use of services over the course of the study. Overall, service use declined over time in subjects with less severe anxiety but remained more steady in those with recurrent/chronic symptoms. Levels of life stress and depressive symptoms were associated with amount of service use over time whereas treatment-related variables (type of initial intervention, acute response, remission) were not. A subset of youths remained chronically anxious despite consistent service use. Conclusion: These findings point to the need to develop models of care that approach anxiety disorders as chronic health conditions in need of active long-term management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-512
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • anxiety
  • cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • service use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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