A multifaith spiritually based intervention for generalized anxiety disorder: a pilot randomized trial

J Clin Psychol. 2010 Apr;66(4):430-41. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20663.


This pilot trial evaluated the efficacy of a multifaith spiritually based intervention (SBI) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for GAD of at least moderate severity were randomized to either 12 sessions of the SBI (n=11) delivered by a spiritual care counselor or 12 sessions of psychologist-administered cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT; n=11). Outcome measures were completed at baseline, post-treatment, and 3-month and 6-month follow-ups. Primary efficacy measures included the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Data analysis was performed on the intent-to-treat sample using the Last Observation Carried Forward method. Eighteen patients (82%) completed the study. The SBI produced robust and clinically significant reductions from baseline in psychic and somatic symptoms of GAD and was comparable in efficacy to CBT. A reduction in depressive symptoms and improvement in social adjustment was also observed. Treatment response occurred in 63.6% of SBI-treated and 72.3% of CBT-treated patients. Gains were maintained at 3-month and 6-month follow-ups. These preliminary findings are encouraging and suggest that a multifaith SBI may be an effective treatment option for GAD. Further randomized controlled trials are needed to establish the efficacy of this intervention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / complications
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome