(HealthDay News) — Successful cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for an anxiety disorder in childhood is associated with lasting protection against suicidal ideation, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Courtney Benjamin Wolk, PhD, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a seven- to 19-year follow-up study to examine whether successful treatment for an anxiety disorder in childhood would be protective against suicidality. Participants included 66 adults who completed CBT for anxiety as children.

The researchers found that, compared with nonresponders, participants who responded favorably to CBT during childhood were less likely to endorse lifetime, past-month, and past-two-week suicidal ideation. The finding persisted across self-report and interview-report of suicide ideation. There was no significant association between treatment response with suicide plans or attempts, although the ability to detect findings was limited by the infrequent occurrence of both.

“This study adds to the literature that suggests that successful CBT for childhood anxiety confers long-term benefits and underscores the importance of the identification and evidence-based treatment of youth anxiety,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties relating to treatment of anxiety in youth; a second author disclosed serving as a consultant for Kinark Child and Family Services.

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