Behavioral therapy was effective compared with no treatment. In the four studies reviewed, 37% to 88% fewer children had obsessive-compulsive disorder after treatment. This corresponded to a drop of eight points on the gold standard outcome measure of symptoms for the condition, the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale, CY-BOCS.
Outcomes were not significantly different between behavioral therapy and medication (weighted mean difference -3.87, 95% confidence interval -8.15 to 0.41).
Compared with medication alone, the combination of behavioral therapy and psychotropic drugs significantly improved compulsive behaviors in children and adolescents (weighted mean difference -4.55, 95% CI -7.40 to -1.70). However, the combination was not superior to behavioral therapy alone (weighted mean difference -2.80, 95% CI -7.55 to 1.95).
The four randomized or quasi-randomized clinical trials included in the review involved 222 participants with ages ranging from seven years to 18 years two months. Boys and girls were equally represented in each study. Participants were diagnosed by clinical assessment or standardized diagnostic interview.