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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2012 Feb;80(1):93-101. doi: 10.1037/a0026455. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

Sudden gains during psychological treatments of anxiety and depression: a meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Boston University, 648 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA. iaderka@bu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The present study quantitatively reviewed the literature on sudden gains in psychological treatments for anxiety and depression. The authors examined the short- and long-term effects of sudden gains on treatment outcome as well as moderators of these effects.

METHOD:

The authors conducted a literature search using PubMed, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Library, and manual searches. The meta-analysis was based on 16 studies and included 1,104 participants receiving psychological treatment for major depressive disorder or an anxiety disorder.

RESULTS:

Effect size estimates suggest that sudden gains had a moderate effect on primary outcome measures at posttreatment (Hedges's g = 0.62) and follow-up (Hedges's g = 0.56). These effect sizes were robust and unrelated to publication year or number of treatment sessions. The effect size of sudden gains in cognitive-behavioral therapy was higher (Hedges's g = 0.75) than in other treatments (Hedges's g = 0.23).

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that sudden gains are associated with short-term and long-term improvements in depression and anxiety, especially in cognitive-behavioral therapy.

PMID:
22122290
DOI:
10.1037/a0026455
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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