Bradley Hospital Enrolling Adolescents with OCD or Anxiety Disorders for New Study

January 25, 2016

Research aims to improve available treatment for families

OCDThe Pediatric Anxiety Research Center at Bradley Hospital is enrolling children and teens with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or anxiety for a study focused on exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The researchers’ goal is to identify the best methods to help clinicians improve treatment for this pediatric population. 
CBT is a form of psychotherapy that addresses a patient’s anxious thoughts and then works toward changing his or her behavior in response to those thoughts. The study will specifically look at a form of CBT called exposure-based therapy. “Through exposure therapy, therapists work together with patients and families to bring them gradually closer to the things or situations that are anxiety-provoking,” said Kristen Benito, PhD, co-principal investigator. 
The study team hopes to find the most effective ways to train community therapists in the treatment of pediatric anxiety and OCD by improving their delivery of CBT, which is the treatment method that previous research has shown to be most effective. The team will examine which therapist, child, and parent behaviors during therapy lead to better treatment outcomes. 
Anxiety disorders affect approximately one in eight children, and for many children this problem may continue into adulthood. Childhood anxiety and OCD often remains unrecognized and untreated long after symptoms begin, causing much distress for both children and their families. 
“This study will help to optimize treatment for those suffering from pediatric anxiety and/or OCD,” said Jennifer Freeman, PhD, co-principal investigator. “There are currently very few providers who offer evidence-based treatment for adolescents with anxiety or OCD, meaning that effective training approaches may increase access to care and improve the quality of resources available.” 
The study is currently enrolling children five to 17 years old who display symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, separation anxiety, panic disorder or a specific phobia. Participants will be asked to: 
  • Complete a pre-screening survey
  • Meet with a study therapist and begin CBT treatment
  • Complete questionnaires intermittently throughout the study
  • Participate in a post-treatment follow-up assessment

To learn more about this study, please call 401-432-1469 or visit