Research at the Pediatric Anxiety Research Center
The Pediatric Anxiety Research Center (PARC) pursues investigations with the goal of developing life-changing therapies for children who have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or other forms of anxiety.
Research at PARC focuses on the etiology, phenomenology, maintenance, and course of child anxiety. Current research projects also focus on the dissemination and implementation of effective treatments in community mental health settings.
Current Research Projects
These projects are currently recruiting participants.
Improving Access to Child Anxiety Treatment (IMPACT) study
PARC is conducting a study to test two types of delivery of an effective treatment for youth with anxiety. The IMPACT study is enrolling children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 18 who may be experiencing symptoms of OCD or anxiety.
- Feeling driven to do or repeat things over and over
- Intense worry or fear in social situations or when separating
- Constant worry about everyday things
- Intense physical feelings that seem to come out of the blue
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms and you are seeking services for your child, they may be eligible to participate in the IMPACT study.
Treatment in this study is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with exposure, a frontline treatment for anxiety and OCD symptoms.
Eligible participants will be randomized to one of two treatment delivery conditions:
- Weekly outpatient therapy at Bradley Hospital
- Weekly home-based therapy three times a month with one office-based visit a month
Participants will not be able to choose which model of treatment delivery they receive, but participants in both groups will receive CBT with exposure. In addition to treatment, participants will take part in six assessment points and be asked to complete short questionnaires after each session, for which their time will be compensated.
Brief Assessment of Effective Exposure (BRAVE)
PARC is partnering with Riverside Community Care in Massachusetts to learn more about what makes exposure therapy work best in practice. Exposure therapy is a form of talk therapy that is already known to be safe and highly effective for treating anxiety and OCD.
The BRAVE study is enrolling people who are seeking treatment at Riverside Community Care and are between the ages of 5 and 25.
Do you or your child:
- Feel the drive to do or repeat certain things, more than others?
- Have more fears/worries than peers?
- Have intensive physical feelings that come out of the blue?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, or are seeking anxiety treatment for you or your child, you may be able to participate in BRAVE!
Participating Riverside therapists receive specialized exposure training from the BRAVE research team. If you have specific questions about the research aspect of this study, please contact PARC at 401-432-1473.
Study participants will have exposure therapy incorporated into treatment with their Riverside therapist; all other parts of treatment will be the same regardless of study participation. Study participants will also complete four symptom assessments and a short questionnaire after therapy sessions, for which their time will be compensated.
The exposure therapy will be provided at the following Riverside locations in Massachusetts:
- Lynnfield Location:
- Address: 6 Kimball Lane Suite 310, Lynnfield, MA 01940
- Phone: 781-246-2010
- Upton Location:
- Address: 206 Milford Street Upton, MA 01568
- Phone: 508-529-7000
- Norwood Location:
- Address: 190 Lenox Street Norwood, MA 02062
- Phone: 781-769-8670
- Newton Location:
- Address: 64 Eldredge Street Newton, MA 02458
- Phone: 617-969-4925
- Dedham Location:
- Address: 30 East Brook Road Suite 302, Dedham, MA 02026
- Phone: 781-329-4579
Moderators and Mediators of Treatment Response in an Intensive Pediatric Anxiety Treatment Program
This study occurs concurrently with treatment in the Intensive Program for OCD at PARC. The primary goals of the project are to identify moderators of anxiety treatment response in an intensive outpatient program for pediatric OCD and related anxiety disorders, from among potential factors such as baseline symptom severity, comorbidity, family functioning, and socio-demographic characteristics. Additional goals are to identify mediators of treatment response such as youth improvement in family functioning, reduction in family accommodation, and reduction in comorbid disorder symptoms and severity.
Past Research Projects
These studies are no longer recruiting participants.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Pediatric OCD: Community Training Pilot
While exposure with response prevention has proved to be an effective treatment for OCD and anxiety, community therapists rarely use interventions with empirical support. The first phase of this project identified effective therapist behaviors that may contribute to patient outcome. The second phase piloted two delivery formats of ERP training for community therapists and collected patient and therapist data to determine the acceptability and feasibility of training in preparation for the next trial (described below under Current Research.)
Research Study for Children with Tics
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive method that influences brain activity for several minutes. During TMS, a magnet is placed next to the head and small electrical currents activate the brain cells beneath it. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors involved in tic suppression and study a potential role for TMS in tic treatment.
Pediatric OCD Treatment Study: Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT), Sertraline, and Their Combination for Children and Adolescents with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
This multisite treatment study evaluated the effectiveness of CBT alone, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) alone, and combined CBT and SSRI treatment for children and adolescents ages 7 through 17 who have OCD. Results showed that children and adolescents who have OCD should begin treatment with CBT alone or a combination of CBT and an SSRI.
Family-Based Treatment of Early Childhood OCD
This was a multisite study in collaboration with Duke University Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. It was designed to test a family-based cognitive behavioral treatment manual against a family-based relaxation therapy (RT) manual in 5- through 8-year-old children who have OCD.