Partner symptom accommodation in generalized anxiety disorder: a preliminary examination of correlates with symptoms and cognitive behavioural therapy outcome Journal Articles uri icon

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abstract

  • Abstract Background: Symptom accommodation is suggested to maintain anxiety pathology and interfere with treatment effectiveness for anxiety and related disorders. However, little is known about symptom accommodation in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Aim: This study investigated the associations between romantic partner symptom accommodation, GAD symptoms, intolerance of uncertainty (IU), relationship satisfaction, and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) outcomes from the perspective of the person with GAD. Method: One hundred and twelve people with GAD participated in group CBT and completed measures at pre- and post-treatment. Results: All participants endorsed that their partner engaged in symptom accommodation to some extent, and the most commonly endorsed type was providing reassurance. Greater self-reported partner symptom accommodation was associated with greater GAD symptoms, chronic worry severity, IU, and relationship satisfaction at baseline. Partner symptom accommodation was found to significantly decrease over treatment; however, less improvement in symptom accommodation from pre- to post-treatment was associated with worse treatment outcomes. Discussion: This study is the first to show that partner symptom accommodation is prevalent in adults with GAD and to elucidate the presentation and frequency of behaviours. The findings provide preliminary evidence that targeting partner symptom accommodation in treatment may improve CBT outcomes.

publication date

  • May 7, 2024