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02-12-2021 | Original Article

Acceptability and Feasibility of Stepped-Care for Anxious Adolescents in Community Mental Health Services: A Secondary Analysis

Child Psychiatry & Human Development
Viviana M. Wuthrich, Ronald M. Rapee, Lauren McLellan, Ann Wignall, Tess Jagiello, Melissa Norberg, Jessica Belcher
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Initial research suggests stepped-care approaches to therapy for youth anxiety is associated with reduced therapy time with similar therapeutic outcomes to treatment-as-usual in real-world settings. Research on the acceptability and feasibility of stepped-care approaches in routine practice is very limited. In a secondary analysis of a pilot randomised controlled trial that compared stepped-care to treatment-as-usual in adolescent mental health services, we examine acceptability and feasibility from consumer and clinician perspectives. Fifteen adolescents and ten clinicians provided brief quantitative and qualitative feedback. Some benefits were noted and these related to improved access to treatment; however, major barriers were also noted. Concerns related to the lack of consumer and clinician choice and flexibility in delivery of stepped interventions, challenges engaging adolescents with internet interventions and associated guided telephone calls, and workplace issues. Systemic changes to facilitate consumer preferences, clinician flexibility and staffing are needed for stepped-care to be feasible in routine care.

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