The effectiveness of third wave cognitive behavioural therapies for children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Amorette M. Perkins, Richard Meiser-Stedman, Samuel W. Spaul, Gemma Bowers, Abigail G. Perkins, Laura Pass

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Objectives: Third wave cognitive behavioural therapies are increasingly used with children and adolescents. This meta-analysis aimed to determine the effectiveness of four third-wave interventions (acceptance and commitment therapy, compassion focused therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and metacognitive therapy) for youth.

Methods: Four electronic databases were used to identify randomized controlled trials, which tested effects related to health, well-being and functioning. Sensitivity analyses considering study quality were conducted and moderators were explored.

Results: The results based on 50 RCTs meeting inclusion criteria indicated emotional symptoms/internalizing problems (g = −.68, 95% CI −.98 to −.37, k = 43, N = 3265), behavioural difficulties/externalizing problems (g = −.62, 95% CI −1.01 to −.22, k = 23, N = 1659), interference from difficulties (g = −.46, 95% CI −.87 to −.05, k = 21, N = 1786), third wave processes (g = .39, 95% CI .17 to .62, k = 22, N = 1900), wellbeing/flourishing (g = .76, 95% CI .35 to 1.17, k = 21, N = 1303) and physical health/pain (g = .72, 95% CI .01 to 1.44, k = 9, N = 1171) yielded significant effects. Effect for quality of life (g = .62, 95% CI −.08 to 1.31, k = 12, N = 1271) was non-significant. When analysing only those studies rated moderate-high quality, third wave interventions yielded significant superiority effects compared to controls for emotional symptoms/internalizing problems (g = −.55, 95% CI −.82 to −.27, k = 28, N = 2110), interference from difficulties (g = −.48, 95% CI −.90 to −.05, k = 21, N = 1605), third wave processes (g = .27, 95% CI .11 to .43, k = 18, N = 1692), well-being/flourishing (g = .50, 95% CI .18 to .81, k = 16, N = 1063), and quality of life (g = .32, 95% CI .04 to .60, k = 10, N = 1212). Behavioural difficulties/externalizing problems (g = −.38, 95% CI −.86 to .10, k = 15, N = 1351) and physical health/pain (g = .52, 95% CI −.14 to 1.17, k = 8, N = 1139) ceased to be significant. Widespread heterogeneity raised concerns about generalizability and follow-up data was relatively sparse.

Conclusions: This meta-analysis finds promising results for use of third wave CBT with youth, though the review has limitations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-227
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume62
Issue number1
Early online date28 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

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