Randomized controlled trial of group cognitive behavioral therapy compared to a discussion group for co-morbid anxiety and depression in older adults

V. M. Wuthrich*, R. M. Rapee, M. Kangas, S. Perini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background Co-morbid anxiety and depression in older adults is associated with worse physical and mental health outcomes and poorer response to psychological and pharmacological treatments in older adults. However, there is a paucity of research focused on testing the efficacy of the co-morbid treatment of anxiety and depression in older adults using psychological interventions. Accordingly, the primary objective of the current study was to test the effects of a group cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) program in treating co-morbid anxiety and depression in a sample of older age adults. Method A total of 133 community-dwelling participants aged 60 years (mean age = 67.35, s.d. = 5.44, male = 59) with both an anxiety disorder and unipolar mood disorder, as assessed on the Anxiety Disorder Interview Schedule (ADIS), were randomly allocated to an 11-week CBT group or discussion group. Participants with Mini-Mental State Examination scores <26 were excluded. Participants were assessed pre-treatment, post-treatment and at 6 months follow-up on the ADIS, a brief measure of well-being, Geriatric Anxiety Inventory and Geriatric Depression Scale. Results Both conditions resulted in significant improvements over time on all diagnostic, symptom and wellbeing measures. Significant group × time interaction effects emerged at post-treatment only for diagnostic severity of the primary disorder, mean severity of all anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and all disorders, and recovery rates on primary disorder. Conclusion Group CBT produced faster and sustained improvements in anxiety and depression on diagnostic severity and recovery rates compared to an active control in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-795
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Medicine
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • co-morbid
  • depression
  • geriatric
  • late-life
  • randomized controlled trial
  • transdiagnostic

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