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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2001 Oct;69(5):756-62.

A randomized trial of the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy and supportive counseling for anxiety symptoms in older adults.

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  • 1Academic Division of Clinical Psychology, School of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, University of Manchester, England.


The authors used a randomized trial to compare cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and supportive counseling (SC) in the treatment of anxiety symptoms in older adults who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.: American Psychiatric Association, 1994) criteria for anxiety disorders. Both conditions had a 6-week baseline no-treatment phase. Treatment was delivered primarily in patients' own homes and in an individual format. Outcomes were assessed at posttreatment and at 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-ups. There was no spontaneous improvement during the baseline phase. Both groups showed improvement on anxiety measures following treatment, with a better outcome for the CBT group on self-rating of anxiety and depression. Over the follow-up period, the CBT group maintained improvement and had significantly greater improvement than the SC group on anxiety and 1 depression measure. Treatment response for anxiety was also superior for the CBT group, although there was no difference between groups in endstate functioning.

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