Lars-Göran Öst

Professor emeritus

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Works at Department of Psychology
Visiting address Frescati hagväg 8
Postal address Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2016. Lars-Göran Öst (et al.). Journal of Anxiety Disorders 43, 58-69

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) among the 10 most debilitating disorders. The treatments which have been found effective are cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRI). This meta-analysis includes all RCTs of CBT (25) and SRI (9) for OCD in youth using the Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (C-YBOCS). CBT yielded significantly lower attrition (12.7%) than SRI (23.5%) and placebo (24.7%). The effect sizes for comparisons of CBT with waiting-list (1.53), placebo (0.93), and SRI with placebo (0.51) were significant, whereas CBT vs. SRI (0.22) and Combo (CBT + SRI) vs. CBT (0.14) were not. Regarding response rate CBT (70%) and Combo (66%) were significantly higher than SRI (49%), which was higher than placebo (29%) and WLC (13%). As for remission CBT (53%) and Combo (49%) were significantly higher than SRI (24%), placebo (15%), and WLC (10%), which did not differ from each other. Combo was not more effective than CBT alone irrespective of initial severity of the samples. The randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have a number of methodological problems and recommendations for improving research methodology are discussed as well as clinical implications of the findings.

  • 2016. Jon Fauskanger Bjaastad (et al.). Psychological Assessment 28 (8), 908-916

    The aim of the present study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Competence and Adherence Scale for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CAS-CBT). The CAS-CBT is an 11-item scale developed to measure adherence and competence in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders in youth. A total of 181 videotapes from the treatment sessions in a randomized controlled effectiveness trial (Wergeland et al., 2014) comprising youth (N = 182, M age = 11.5 years, SD = 2.1, range 8-15 years, 53% girls, 90.7% Caucasian) with mixed anxiety disorders were assessed with the CAS-CBT to investigate interitem correlations, internal consistency, and factor structure. Internal consistency was good (Cronbach's alpha = .87). Factor analysis suggested a 2-factor solution with Factor 1 representing CBT structure and session goals (explaining 46.9% of the variance) and Factor 2 representing process and relational skills (explaining 19.7% of the variance). The sum-score for adherence and competence was strongly intercorrelated, r = .79, p < .001. Novice raters (graduate psychology students) obtained satisfactory accuracy (ICC > .40, n = 10 videotapes) and also good to excellent interrater reliability when compared to expert raters (ICC = .83 for adherence and .64 for competence, n = 26 videotapes). High rater stability was also found (n = 15 videotapes). The findings suggest that the CAS-CBT is a reliable measure of adherence and competence in manualized CBT for anxiety disorders in youth. Further research is needed to investigate the validity of the scale and psychometric properties when used with other treatment programs, disorders and treatment formats.

  • 2016. Eili N. Riise (et al.). Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders 11, 13-21

    This study evaluated the effectiveness of a concentrated exposure and response prevention (ERP) treatment for adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Twenty-two adolescents with OCD (range 11–17 years) received therapist-assisted ERP during four consecutive days, followed by a three week period of self-administered ERP. Treatment was delivered to 2–3 patients and their parents simultaneously at an outpatient clinic for child and adolescent psychiatry as part of standard health care. OCD-symptoms were assessed at pre-treatment, post-treatment, 3- and 6-month follow-up. The results demonstrated that patients had significant reduction in OCD-symptoms from pre- to post-treatment and the gains were maintained at follow-up. 91% (n=20) were classified as responders at post-treatment, and 77% (n=17) at six-month follow-up. Remission rates were 73% (n=16) at post-treatment and 68% (n=15) at six-month follow-up. OCD-related impairment and symptoms of anxiety and depression were significantly reduced at post-treatment and follow-up. The results suggest that concentrated ERP is a promising treatment for adolescents with OCD.

  • 2016. Sarah Vigerland (et al.). Behaviour Research and Therapy 76, 47-56

    Background: Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) has been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders in children, but few affected seek or receive treatment. Internet-delivered CBT (ICBT) could be a way to increase the availability of empirically supported treatments.

    Aims: A randomised controlled trial was conducted to evaluate ICBT for children with anxiety disorders.

    Method: Families (N = 93) with a child aged 8–12 years with a principal diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, separation anxiety, social phobia or specific phobiawere recruited through media advertisement. Participants were randomised to 10 weeks of ICBT with therapist support, or to a waitlist control condition. The primary outcome measure was the Clinician Severity Rating (CSR) and secondary measures included child- and parent-reported anxiety. Assessments were made at pre-treatment, post-treatment and at three-month follow-up.

    Results: At post-treatment, there were significant reductions on CSR in the treatment group, with a large between-group effect size (Cohen's d = 1.66). Twenty per cent of children in the treatment group no longer met criteria for their principal diagnosis at post-treatment and at follow-up this number had increased to 50%. Parent-reported child anxiety was significantly lower in the treatment group than in the waitlist group at post-treatment, with a small between-group effect size (Cohen's d = 0.45). There were no significant differences between the groups regarding child-ratings of anxiety at post-treatment. Improvements were maintained at three-month follow-up, although this should be interpreted cautiously due to missing data.

    Conclusions: Within the limitations of this study, results suggest that ICBT with therapist support for children with anxiety disorders can reduce clinician- and parent-rated anxiety symptoms.

    Trial registration: NCT01533402.

  • 2016. Gro Janne H. Wergeland (et al.). Behaviour Research and Therapy 76, 1-12

    A substantial number of children with anxiety disorders do not improve following cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Recent effectiveness studies have found poorer outcome for CBT programs than what is typically found in efficacy studies. The present study examined predictors of treatment outcome among 181 children (aged 8–15 years), with separation anxiety, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder, who participated in a randomized, controlled effectiveness trial of a 10-session CBT program in community clinics. Potential predictors included baseline demographic, child, and parent factors. Outcomes were as follows: a) remission from all inclusion anxiety disorders; b) remission from the primary anxiety disorder; and c) child- and parent-rated reduction of anxiety symptoms at post-treatment and at 1-year follow-up. The most consistent findings across outcome measures and informants were that child-rated anxiety symptoms, functional impairment, a primary diagnosis of social phobia or separation anxiety disorder, and parent internalizing symptoms predicted poorer outcome at post-treatment. Child-rated anxiety symptoms, lower family social class, lower pretreatment child motivation, and parent internalizing symptoms predicted poorer outcome at 1-year follow-up. These results suggest that anxious children with more severe problems, and children of parents with elevated internalizing symptom levels, may be in need of modified, additional, or alternative interventions to achieve a positive treatment outcome.

  • 2016. Tine Nordgreen (et al.). Behavior Therapy 47 (2), 166-183

    The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT) stepped care model (psychoeducation, guided Internet treatment, and face-to-face CBT) compared with direct face-to-face (FtF) CBT. Patients with panic disorder or social anxiety disorder were randomized to either stepped care (n = 85) or direct FtF CBT (n = 88). Recovery was defined as meeting two of the following three criteria: loss of diagnosis, below cut-off for self-reported symptoms, and functional improvement. No significant differences in intention-to-treat recovery rates were identified between stepped care (40.0%) and direct FtF CBT (43.2%). The majority of the patients who recovered in the stepped care did so at the less therapist-demanding steps (26/34, 76.5%). Moderate to large within-groups effect sizes were identified at posttreatment and 1-year follow-up. The attrition rates were high: 41.2% in the stepped care condition and 27.3% in the direct FtF CBT condition. These findings indicate that the outcome of a stepped care model for anxiety disorders is comparable to that of direct FtF CBT. The rates of improvement at the two less therapist-demanding steps indicate that stepped care models might be useful for increasing patients’ access to evidence-based psychological treatments for anxiety disorders. However, attrition in the stepped care condition was high, and research regarding the factors that can improve adherence should be prioritized.

  • 2016. Krister W. Fjermestad (et al.). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines 57 (5), 625-632

    Background: In individual cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT) for youth anxiety disorders, it is unclear whether, and from whose perspective, the alliance predicts outcome. We examined whether youth- and therapist-rated alliance, including level of youth-therapist alliance agreement, predicted outcome in a randomized controlled trial.

    Methods: Youth (N = 91, M age = 11.4 years (SD = 2.1), 49.5% boys, 86.8% Caucasian) diagnosed with separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder drawn from the ICBT condition of an effectiveness trial were treated with an ICBT program. Youth- and therapist-rated alliance ratings, assessed with the Therapeutic Alliance Scale for Children (TASC-C/T), were collected following session 3 (early) and 7 (late). Early alliance, change in alliance from early to late, and level of youth-therapist agreement on early alliance and alliance change were examined, in relation to outcomes collected at posttreatment and 1-year follow-up. Outcome was defined as primary diagnosis loss and reduction in clinicians' severity ratings (CSR; Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule; ADIS-C/P) based on youth- and parent-report at posttreatment and follow-up, and youth treatment satisfaction collected at posttreatment (Client Satisfaction Scale; CSS).

    Results: Early TASC-C scores positively predicted treatment satisfaction at posttreatment. Higher levels of agreement on change in TASC-C and TASC-T scores early to late in treatment predicted diagnosis loss and CSR reduction at follow-up.

    Conclusions: Only the level of agreement in alliance change predicted follow-up outcomes in ICBT for youth anxiety disorders. The findings support further examination of the role that youth-therapist alliance discrepancies may play in promoting positive outcomes in ICBT for youth anxiety disorders. Clinical trial number NCT00586586,

  • 2016. Thomas Haug (et al.). Behaviour Research and Therapy 77, 40-51

    Objective: The research on the association between the working alliance and therapist competence/adherence and outcome from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is limited and characterized by inconclusive findings. This study investigates the working alliance and competence/adherence as predictors of outcome of CBT for social anxiety disorder(SAD) and panic disorder (PD).

    Method: Eighty-two clinically referred patients (58.5% female; age: M = 33.6 years, SD = 10.3) with PD (n = 31) or SAD (n = 51) were treated with 12 sessions of manualized CBT by 22 clinicians with limited CBT experience in a randomized controlled effectiveness trial. Independent assessors rated the CBT competence/adherence of the therapists using a revised version of the Cognitive Therapy Adherence and Competence Scale, and the patients rated the quality of the working alliance using the Working Alliance Inventory-short form in therapy sessions 3 and 8. The outcome was assessed by independent assessors as well as by patients self-report. A total of 20.7% of the patients (27.5% SAD, 9.7% PD) dropped out during treatment. The association between the alliance, competence/adherence, outcome and dropout was investigated using multiple regression analyses.

    Results: Higher therapist' competence/adherence early in the therapy was associated with a better outcome among PD patients, lower competence/adherence was associated with dropout among SAD patients. Higher rating of the alliance late in the therapy was associated with a better outcome, whereas lower alliance rating late in the therapy was associated with dropout.

    Conclusion: The findings indicate that the therapist competence/adherence and the working alliance have independent contributions to the outcome from CBT for anxiety disorders, but in different phases of the treatment.

Show all publications by Lars-Göran Öst at Stockholm University

Last updated: November 30, 2018

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