The relationship of treatment preferences and experiences to outcome in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

Psychol Psychother. 2008 Sep;81(Pt 3):247-59. doi: 10.1348/147608308X297113. Epub 2008 Apr 23.


Objectives: The relationship of treatment preferences and experiences to outcome was explored in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Design: Patients were randomly allocated to either affect-focused body psychotherapy (ABP) (N=26) or standard psychiatric out-patient treatment (N=17).

Method: Initial preferences and subsequent experiences of treatment interventions were measured using a questionnaire focusing on support, inward reflection, concrete and directive problem solving, and affective expression. Outcome was assessed after 1 and 2 years in relation to symptom change.

Results: ABP patients reported being helped by supportive and reflective treatment interventions to a greater extent than controls. ABP patients also had more positive experiences of supportive and emotionally expressive interventions than they had expected at initial assessment. When patients were divided into two groups on the basis of patterns of preferences and experiences using cluster analysis, it was found that differences in outcome were considerably more marked for clusters than treatment groups.

Conclusions: It is concluded that treatment preferences may have considerable interpersonal potential in therapy; how therapists utilize this potential may be important for improving outcome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Problem Solving
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome