Combining computerized home-based treatments for generalized anxiety disorder: an attention modification program and cognitive behavioral therapy

Behav Ther. 2012 Sep;43(3):546-59. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2010.12.008. Epub 2011 May 30.


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common and disabling condition associated with significant personal and societal costs. Although efficacious treatments exist for GAD, the majority of these individuals fail to access our most effective treatments. In the current paper, we report the results of an open trial that examined the efficacy of a computer-delivered home-based treatment program for GAD. Twenty-one individuals seeking treatment for GAD received a self-administered program over 6 weeks that comprised two components: (1) an Attention Modification Program (AMP) designed to facilitate attentional disengagement from threat-relevant stimuli and (2) brief computer-delivered cognitive and behavioral treatment modules (CCBT). Fourteen of the 21 enrolled participants (67%) completed the treatment program. Intent-to-treat and completer analyses revealed that AMP+CCBT resulted in significant reductions in clinician- and self-rated symptoms of anxiety, worry, depression, and functional impairment. Moreover, treatment completers displayed significant reductions in attentional bias for threat from pre- to postassessment. Change in attentional bias for threat from pre- to postassessment was associated with change in worry symptoms. Finally, 79% of participants no longer met DSM-IV criteria for GAD at postassessment and 36% were classified as remitted (Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety ≤7; Rickels et al., 2006). These results suggest that computer-delivered AMP+CCBT may serve as an effective and easily accessible treatment option for individuals with GAD.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Attention*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Self Administration / methods
  • Self Administration / psychology*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / statistics & numerical data