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Keywords:

  • Selective mutism;
  • randomized controlled trial;
  • behavioural intervention;
  • social phobia;
  • childhood anxiety

Background

Randomized controlled psychosocial treatment studies on selective mutism (SM) are lacking.

Method

Overall, 24 children with SM, aged 3–9 years, were randomized to 3 months treatment (n = 12) or wait list (n = 12). Primary outcome measure was the School Speech Questionnaire.

Results

A significant time by group interaction was found (p = .029) with significantly increased speech in the treatment group (p = .004) and no change in wait list controls (p = .936). A time by age interaction favoured younger children (p = .029). Clinical trail registration: Norwegian Research CouncilNCT01002196.

Conclusions

The treatment significantly improved speech. Greater improvement in the younger age group highlights the importance of an early intervention.