A two-year follow-up of psychodynamic psychotherapy for internalizing disorders in children

Filippo Muratori, Lara Picchi, Gabriella Bruni, Mariagrazia Patarnello, Giulia Romagnoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate short- and long-term effects of time-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy (PP) for children with internalizing disorders. Method: Fifty-eight outpatient children (6,3-10.9 years old), seen in a process of routine care and meeting DSM-IV criteria for depressive or anxiety disorder, were assigned to either active treatment or community services. Subjects were measured at baseline, after 6 months, and at a 2-year follow-up, by Children's Global Assessment Scale (C-GAS) and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Results: Major improvements in the experimental group were found in C-GAS and CBCL. These differences are noted at different times, with the C-GAS findings seen at 6 months and the CBCL findings at 2-year follow-up. Significant differences were found also for externalizing syndrome scales. Conclusions: PP is effective in treating internalizing disorders in routine outpatient care. The benefits of treatment are manifest both immediately and with delayed onset (sleeper effect). The finding that PP patients sought mental health services at a significantly lower rate than comparison conditions represents an important economic impact of PP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003


  • Child psychiatry
  • Efficacy
  • Internalizing disorders
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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