Year: 2023 Source: JAMA. (2022). 328(14), 1445-1455. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.16303 SIEC No: 20230286
Importance  Anxiety in children and adolescents is associated with impaired functioning, educational underachievement, and future mental health conditions. Objective  To review the evidence on screening for anxiety in children and adolescents to inform the US Preventive Services Task Force. Data Sources  PubMed, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and trial registries through July 19, 2021; references, experts, and surveillance through June 1, 2022. Study Selection  English-language, randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of screening; diagnostic test accuracy studies; RCTs of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or US Food and Drug Administration–approved pharmacotherapy; RCTs, observational studies, and systematic reviews reporting harms. Data Extraction and Synthesis  Two reviewers assessed titles/abstracts, full-text articles, and study quality and extracted data; when at least 3 similar studies were available, meta-analyses were conducted. Main Outcomes and Measures  Test accuracy, symptoms, response, remission, loss of diagnosis, all-cause mortality, functioning, suicide-related symptoms or events, adverse events. Results  Thirty-nine studies (N = 6065) were included. No study reported on the direct benefits or harms of screening on health outcomes. Ten studies (n = 3260) reported the sensitivity of screening instruments, ranging from 0.34 to 1.00, with specificity ranging from 0.47 to 0.99. Twenty-nine RCTs (n = 2805) reported on treatment: 22 on CBT, 6 on pharmacotherapy, and 1 on CBT, sertraline, and CBT plus sertraline. CBT was associated with gains on several pooled measures of symptom improvement (magnitude of change varied by outcome measure), response (pooled relative risk [RR], 1.89 [95% CI, 1.17 to 3.05]; n = 606; 6 studies), remission (RR, 2.68 [95% CI, 1.48 to 4.88]; n = 321; 4 studies), and loss of diagnosis (RR range, 3.02-3.09) when compared with usual care or wait-list controls. The evidence on functioning for CBT was mixed. Pharmacotherapy, when compared with placebo, was associated with gains on 2 pooled measures of symptom improvement—mean difference (Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale mean difference, −4.0 [95% CI, −5.5 to −2.5]; n = 726; 5 studies; and Clinical Global Impression–Severity scale mean difference, −0.84 [95% CI, −1.13 to −0.55]; n = 550; 4 studies) and response (RR, 2.11 [95% CI, 1.58 to 2.98]; n = 370; 5 studies)—but was mixed on measures of functioning. Eleven RCTs (n = 1293) reported harms of anxiety treatments. Suicide-related harms were rare, and the differences were not statistically significantly different. Conclusions and Relevance  Indirect evidence suggested that some screening instruments were reasonably accurate. CBT and pharmacotherapy were associated with benefits; no statistically significant association with harms was reported.