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Fam Pract. 2005 Apr;22(2):192-6. Epub 2005 Feb 14.

Efficacy of self-help manuals for anxiety disorders in primary care: a systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Institute for Extramural Medicine, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



The purpose of this study was to review effectiveness studies of self-help manuals for anxiety disorders in primary care.


A systematic review of six identified randomized controlled trials was carried out. In addition to outcome, the articles were coded on quality variables.


The studies included differed with respect to the methodological quality, measurements used and size of the study population. Despite these differences, global results suggest that a self-help manual is an effective treatment possibility for primary care patients with anxiety disorders. The more time that was spent on guidance on the use of the self-help manual the greater was its effectiveness.


Treatment with a self-help manual for anxiety disorders may be effective in primary care. Data are lacking on the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of these manuals.

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