Treatment of children's nighttime fears: The need for a modern randomised controlled trial

Jocelynne E Gordon, Neville John King, Eleonora Gullone, Peter Muris, Thomas H Ollendick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Children s nighttime fears are common and cause significant interference to the child s functioning as well as causing much distress for the child and family. Therefore, effective and cost-efficient interventions are urgently needed by mental health professionals and counsellors. The authors review 29 studies, which investigated the efficacy of psychosocial treatment for children s nighttime fears. Most studies employed multiple baseline across subject designs or between group designs and most employed cognitive-behavioral techniques (i.e., desensitisation, emotive imagery, cognitive self-instruction, and reinforcement procedures). Although multi-method, informant assessments were not always conducted, in most studies rapid reduction of nighttime fears was typically achieved after only a few sessions with maintenance of gains. On the basis of our review, we make recommendations about assessment and intervention issues for the effective treatment of children s nighttime fears. Finally, future research directions are discussed including the need for a modern randomised clinical trial to more fully investigate treatment efficacy and the role of non-specific treatment factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98 - 113
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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