LSU Awarded Joint Grant to Study Combining Physical Activity with Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

01/18/2013 03:45 PM

BATON ROUGE – Researchers from LSU and Southeastern Louisiana University have been awarded a joint grant to investigate physical activity as an adjunct to cognitive-behavior therapy for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. The study, called IMPACT-Anxiety, is designed to evaluate if children who participate in both a physical activity intervention and cognitive-behavior therapy have greater symptom reduction than children who receive cognitive-behavior therapy alone. Participants will receive treatment for their disorders at no cost.    

The principal investigators of the IMPACT-Anxiety study are Birgitta Baker, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at LSU, and Monique LeBlanc, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Southeastern Louisiana University.

LeBlanc noted that anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent forms of childhood psychopathology. These disorders often manifest as excessive worry or fear that causes the affected individual to avoid or overreact to a variety of situations or people.

“Childhood anxiety disorders are associated with significant impairment in social, psychological and educational functioning during childhood and continuing into adulthood,” said LeBlanc. “Children and adolescents with anxiety disorders are at greater risk for adult psychopathology; including depression and substance abuse, peer neglect and early withdrawal from school.”

According to the American Psychological Association, research has shown cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, to be highly effective in treating anxiety disorders in children and adults. However, not all children and adolescents respond with complete reduction of symptoms following CBT.

“Burgeoning evidence suggests that physical activity can be effective in reducing psychological symptoms and improving quality of life,” said Baker. “This study will help us evaluate whether physical activity, when paired with CBT, can further reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents.”

The IMPACT-Anxiety study is open to children ages 8 to 16 that have symptoms of anxiety. For more information on study eligibility or to enroll in the study, parents should contact the study personnel at 225-578-9145 or Eligible participants will receive a free psychological evaluation and be assigned to a 12-week group treatment program.

Billy  Gomila 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Friday, January 18, 2013