Effectiveness of transdiagnostic group cognitive-behavioural therapy for anxiety disorders in a naturalistic clinical setting

Michelle Y.W. Jiang*, Evelyn Kandris, Yasmeen El-Nasry, Juliette Drobny, Tamsen St. Clare, Jessamine Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The efficacy of transdiagnostic group-based cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders is well-established in the literature. However, few studies have examined the effectiveness of this type of treatment in naturalistic clinical settings, where individuals typically present with complex comorbidities. The present study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of an eight-session structured transdiagnostic group CBT program on anxiety symptoms, comorbid depression, and functional impairments in a hospital outpatient specialist anxiety disorders clinic.

Method: One-hundred and seven adult outpatients with a primary presentation of an anxiety disorder completed the group treatment. Participants completed self-report measures assessing general anxiety, anxiety disorder-specific symptoms, comorbid depression symptoms, and functional impairments. Data was collected at pre- and post-treatment, and at follow-up.

Results: Significant pre- to post-treatment reductions were found on measures of state and trait anxiety, impairment in work and social functioning, comorbid depression, social anxiety, and worry severity. These treatment gains were maintained at follow-up.
Limitations: There was no comparison control group in the present study given that it was conducted in a hospital setting. Some diagnostic groups were also underrepresented in the sample, which limits the conclusions that can be drawn about the effectiveness of the group treatment across anxiety disorders.

Conclusions: The present findings provided preliminary support for the effectiveness and generalisability of an eight-session transdiagnostic group-based CBT delivered at a public health service, indicating its potential as a cost-effective and clinically-efficient alternative to individual therapy or diagnosis-specific treatments for anxiety disorders.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Psychologist
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • anxiety disorders
  • depression
  • transdiagnostic
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • group therapy

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