Changes in risk-taking over the course of an internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy treatment for generalized anxiety disorder

Carolyn N. Lorian*, Nickolai Titov, Jessica R. Grisham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


It has been proposed that a persistent and pervasive tendency to avoid risks is involved in the development and maintenance of clinically significant anxiety. Few studies, however, have examined the clinical implications of risk-aversion, and particularly the association between risk-aversion and treatment outcome. The current study investigated how risk-aversion in specific domains (Social and Recreational) related to treatment outcome in a clinical sample of patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) undergoing internet-delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). We hypothesized that: (i) risk-taking would increase as a result of treatment and (ii) risk-taking would mediate changes in symptom severity and impairment as a result of treatment. Individuals recruited online (N= 44) meeting diagnostic criteria for GAD were randomized to the treatment (n= 24) or control group (n= 20). Participants completed measures of symptom severity, impairment and risk-taking before and after treatment. Results partially confirmed our hypotheses, demonstrating that participants in the treatment group significantly increased social and recreational risk-taking scores relative to the control group and risk-taking mediated treatment outcome for depression, but not for anxiety symptoms. The results of this study suggest that social and recreational risk-avoidance decreases following CBT treatment, and this change may mediate treatment outcome for depression. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-149
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


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