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 Recruiting Participants
Moderators and Mediators of Treatment Response in an Intensive Pediatric Anxiety Treatment Program
This study occurs concurrently with treatment in the Intensive Program for The Intensive Program for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 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.
The INSPIRE Study: Instruction in Parent-Delivered Exposure
The purpose of the INSPIRE Study is to learn more about how to help parents of youth ages 5 to 12 to participate in their child’s treatment for OCD and ways to increase the quality and quantity of parent-led treatment activities between sessions by using a parent training protocol. All child study participants will receive a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) known as exposure therapy, which is an effective treatment for OCD. We hope that the results of this study will help future patients and families with OCD.
Current Research Recruiting Participants
TMS for Improving Response Inhibition in Adolescents with OCD
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 is to test whether brain stimulation can improve the connections between areas of the brain that are responsible for stopping unhelpful behaviors and improving response inhibition. If successful, we hope this may improve teens' response inhibition and eventually lead to a new treatment for teens with OCD.
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.
Common anxiety symptoms include:
- 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
Treatment in this study is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with exposure, a frontline treatment for anxiety and OCD symptoms.
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.