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A Meta-Analytic Review of Adult Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment Outcome Across the Anxiety Disorders

Norton, Peter J. PhD; Price, Esther C. MA

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: June 2007 - Volume 195 - Issue 6 - p 521-531
doi: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000253843.70149.9a
Original Article

The efficacy of cognitive behavioral treatments (CBT) for anxiety in adults has been supported by multiple meta-analyses. However, most have focused on only 1 diagnosis, thereby disallowing diagnostic comparisons. This study examined the efficacy of CBT across the anxiety disorders. One hundred eight trials of CBT for an anxiety disorder met study criteria. Cognitive therapy and exposure therapy alone, in combination, or combined with relaxation training, were efficacious across the anxiety disorders, with no differential efficacy for any treatment components for any specific diagnoses. However, when comparing across diagnoses, outcomes for generalized anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder were superior to those for social anxiety disorder, but no other differences emerged. CBT effects were superior to those for no-treatment and expectancy control treatments, although tentative evidence suggested equal effects of CBT when compared with relaxation-only treatments.

Department of Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, Texas.

This study was supported, in part, by an NIMH Career Development Grant 1K01MH073920 (to P.J.N.).

Send reprint requests to Peter J. Norton, PhD, Department of Psychology 126 Heyne Building, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5022.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.