College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Specificity of Treatment Effects: Cognitive Therapy and Relaxation for Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorders

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-2007

Keywords

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Cognitive Therapy, Relaxation Therapy, Treatment Specificity

Publication Title

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

ISSN

0022-006X

Volume

75

Issue/No.

4

Abstract

The aim of this study was to address claims that among bona fide treatments no one is more efficacious than another by comparing the relative efficacy of cognitive therapy (CT) and relaxation therapy (RT) in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder without agoraphobia (PD). Two fixed-effects meta-analyses were conducted, for GAD and PD separately, to review the treatment outcome literature directly comparing CT with RT in the treatment of those disorders. For GAD, CT and RT were equivalent. For PD, CT, which included interoceptive exposure, outperformed RT on all panic-related measures, as well as on indices of clinically significant change. There is ample evidence that both CT and RT qualify as bona fide treatments for GAD and PD, for which they are efficacious and intended to be so. Therefore, the finding that CT and RT do not differ in the treatment of GAD, but do for PD, is evidence for the specificity of treatment to disorder, even for 2 treatments within a CBT class, and 2 disorders within an anxiety class.

DOI

10.1037/0022-006X.75.4.513