Competing indirect effects in a comparative psychotherapy trial for generalized anxiety disorder Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • In a randomized trial for generalized anxiety disorder, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and CBT integrated with motivational interviewing (MI) promoted comparable worry reduction at posttreatment, whereas MI-CBT outperformed CBT over 12-month follow-up (Westra, Constantino, & Antony, 2016). Secondary analyses revealed competing mediators of the long-term treatment effect: MI-CBT related to lower patient resistance to the treatment, which promoted lower follow-up worry, whereas CBT related to greater increases in patient friendly submissiveness (FS), or compliance, which also promoted lower follow-up worry (that suppressed an even greater long-term advantage of MI-CBT). In this study, we tested these competing, though theoretically consistent, variables as mediators of the nonsignificant treatment effect on posttreatment worry, as there could also be treatment-specific means to arriving to these comparable ends. Eighty-five patients received 15 sessions of MI-CBT or CBT. Therapists rated patient FS through treatment, observers rated resistance at midtreatment, and patients rated worry at posttreatment. Bootstrap analyses indicated that MI-CBT patients exhibited less resistance, which promoted lower posttreatment worry, whereas CBT patients had greater increases in FS, which also promoted lower worry. CBT and MI-CBT achieved comparable posttreatment outcomes through separate indirect paths that each conferred an advantage for one treatment over the other (and had canceled out a direct treatment effect immediately after therapy). The composite trial findings have significance for understanding different pathways to personal change in both the short- and long terms, and for the importance of testing indirect effects both when direct treatment effects do and do not emerge. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

authors

  • Coyne, Alice E
  • Constantino, Michael J
  • Westra, Henny A
  • Antony, Martin

publication date

  • November 2018