A component analysis of cognitive-behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety disorder and the role of interpersonal problems

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2002 Apr;70(2):288-98.


Clients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) received either (a) applied relaxation and self-control desensitization, (b) cognitive therapy, or (c) a combination of these methods. Treatment resulted in significant improvement in anxiety and depression that was maintained for 2 years. The large majority no longer met diagnostic criteria; a minority sought further treatment during follow-up. No differences in outcome were found between conditions; review of the GAD therapy literature suggested that this may have been due to strong effects generated by each component condition. Finally, interpersonal difficulties remaining at posttherapy, measured by the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems Circumplex Scales (L. E. Alden, J. S. Wiggins, & A. L. Pincus, 1990) in a subset of clients, were negatively associated with posttherapy and follow-up improvement, suggesting the possible utility of adding interpersonal treatment to cognitive-behavioral therapy to increase therapeutic effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Desensitization, Psychologic
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Treatment Outcome