Cost and effectiveness of one session treatment (OST) for children and young people with specific phobias compared to multi-session cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): results from a randomised controlled trial

Document Type


Publication Date



BACKGROUND: In the UK, around 93,000 (0.8%) children and young people (CYP) are experiencing specific phobias that have a substantial impact on daily life. The current gold-standard treatment-multi-session cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - is effective at reducing specific phobia severity; however, CBT is time consuming, requires specialist CBT therapists, and is often at great cost and limited availability. A briefer variant of CBT called one session treatment (OST) has been found to offer similar clinical effectiveness for specific phobia as multi-session CBT. The aim of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of OST compared to multi-session CBT for CYP with specific phobias through the Alleviating Specific Phobias Experienced by Children Trial (ASPECT), a two-arm, pragmatic, multi-centre, non-inferiority randomised controlled trial. METHODS: CYP aged seven to 16 years with specific phobias were recruited nationally via Health and Social Care pathways, remotely randomised to the intervention group (OST) or the control group (CBT-based therapies) and analysed (n = 267). Resource use based on NHS and personal social services perspective and quality adjusted life years (QALYs) measured by EQ-5D-Y were collected at baseline and at six-month follow-up. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was calculated, and non-parametric bootstrapping was conducted to capture the uncertainty around the ICER estimates. The results were presented on a cost-effectiveness acceptability curve (CEAC). A set of sensitivity analyses (including taking a societal perspective) were conducted to assess the robustness of the primary findings. RESULTS: After adjustment and bootstrapping, on average CYP in the OST group incurred less costs (incremental cost was -£302.96 (95% CI -£598.86 to -£28.61)) and maintained similar improvement in QALYs (QALYs gained 0.002 (95% CI - 0.004 to 0.008)). The CEAC shows that the probability of OST being cost-effective was over 95% across all the WTP thresholds. Results of a set of sensitivity analyses were consistent with the primary outcomes. CONCLUSION: Compared to CBT, OST produced a reduction in costs and maintained similar improvement in QALYs. Results from both primary and sensitivity analyses suggested that OST was highly likely to be cost saving. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN19883421 (30/11/2016).

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

BMC psychiatry

First Page


This document is currently not available here.