Effectiveness of complementary and self‐help treatments for anxiety in children and adolescents Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To review the evidence for the effectiveness of complementary and self-help treatments for anxiety disorders and situational anxiety in children and adolescents. DATA SOURCES: Systematic literature search using PubMed, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library for 111 treatments up to February 2006. STUDY SELECTION: There were 11 treatments for which intervention studies had been undertaken and reported. DATA EXTRACTION: Studies on each treatment were reviewed by one author and checked by a second. A consensus was reached for level of evidence. DATA SYNTHESIS: Relevant evidence was available for bibliotherapy, dance and movement therapy, distraction techniques, humour, massage, melatonin, relaxation training, autogenic training, avoiding marijuana, a mineral-vitamin supplement (EMPower +) and music therapy. Findings from case-control studies, individual cohort studies or low quality randomised controlled trials indicated that several treatments may have potential to reduce anxiety, including bibliotherapy, massage, melatonin, and relaxation training. CONCLUSIONS: Although some complementary and self-help treatments might be useful for children and adolescents with anxiety, they need to be tested adequately through randomised controlled trials before they could be recommended.


  • Parslow, Ruth
  • Morgan, Amy J
  • Allen, Nicholas B
  • Jorm, Anthony F
  • O’Donnell, Colin P
  • Purcell, Rosemary

publication date

  • March 2008