Efficacy of the Unified Protocol for transdiagnostic treatment of comorbid psychopathology accompanying emotional disorders compared to treatments targeting single disorders
Steele, Stephanie Jarvi
Farchione, Todd J.
Barlow, David H.
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Citation (published version)Stephanie Jarvi Steele, Todd J Farchione, Clair Cassiello-Robbins, Amanda Ametaj, Sophia Sbi, Shannon Sauer-Zavala, David H Barlow. 2018. "Efficacy of the Unified Protocol for transdiagnostic treatment of comorbid psychopathology accompanying emotional disorders compared to treatments targeting single disorders." JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRIC RESEARCH, Volume 104, pp. 211 - 216 (6). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.08.005
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to examine whether the Unified Protocol (UP), a transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral therapy for emotional disorders (i.e., anxiety, mood, and related disorders), is efficacious in the treatment of co-occurring emotional disorders compared to established single disorder protocols (SDPs) that target specific disorders (e.g., panic disorder). METHOD: Participants included 179 adults seeking outpatient psychotherapy. Participant age ranged from 18 to 66 years, with an average of 30.66 years (SD = 10.77). The sample was 55% female and mostly Caucasian (83%). Diagnostic assessments were completed with the Anxiety Disorder Interview Schedule (ADIS), and disorder-specific, clinician-rated measures for the comorbid diagnoses of interest. RESULTS: In both treatment conditions, participants' mean number of diagnoses dropped significantly from baseline to posttreatment, and baseline to 12-month follow-up. Additionally, large effects were observed for changes in comorbid generalized anxiety (ES𝐬ɢ: UP = −1.72; SDP = −1.98), social anxiety (ES𝐬ɢ: UP = −1.33, −0.86; SDP = −1.60, −1.54), and depression (ES𝐬ɢ: UP = −0.83; SDP = −0.84). Significant differences were not observed in between-group comparisons. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that both the UP and SDPs are efficacious in reducing symptoms of comorbid emotional disorders. The clinical, practical, and cost-effective advantages of transdiagnostic CBT are discussed.
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