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A Randomised Controlled Trial of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy for Generalised Anxiety Disorder

  • Elbina Avdagic (a1), Shirley A. Morrissey (a1) (a2) and Mark J. Boschen (a1) (a2)
Abstract

The study examined the relative efficacy of group acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) compared to group cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). Fifty-one individuals with GAD were randomly allocated to a 6-week intervention, either ACT or CBT. Participants were assessed at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 3-month follow-up on symptom measures, quality of life, and process measures. Data from 38 participants (19 in each group) were available at post-assessment, indicating significant improvements on all measures for both treatment conditions. Treatment gains were maintained at follow-up, with significant further improvements in anxiety, depression and stress symptoms for both groups. While no between-group differences were found at treatment completion, a significant interaction indicating steeper reduction in worrying symptoms (d = .79) from pre- to post-assessment was found for the ACT group compared to the CBT group. Furthermore, in relation to worrying, at treatment completion 78.9% of participants in the ACT group achieved reliable change compared to 47.4% of participants in the CBT group. However, both groups showed equivalent reliable change rates of 60% at the follow-up assessment. The results suggest that group ACT was as efficacious as group CBT. While participants in the ACT group maintained treatment gains at follow-up, participants in the CBT group continued to improve between post-assessment and follow-up.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Associate Professor Shirley Morrissey, School of Applied Psychology and Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast QLD 4222, Australia. Email: s.morrissey@griffith.edu.au
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