Transdiagnostic versus diagnosis-specific cbt for anxiety disorders: a preliminary randomized controlled noninferiority trial

Depress Anxiety. 2012 Oct;29(10):874-82. doi: 10.1002/da.21974. Epub 2012 Jul 5.


Background: Transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral treatments for anxiety disorders have been gaining increased attention and empirical study in recent years. Despite this, research on transdiagnostic anxiety treatments has, to date, relied on open trials, or comparisons to waitlist conditions, published benchmarks, or relaxation-based interventions.

Methods: The current study was a randomized clinical trial examining the efficacy of a 12-week transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral group treatment in comparison to 12-week diagnosis-specific group Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) protocols for panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Results: Results from 46 treatment initiators suggested significant improvement during treatment, strong evidence for treatment equivalence across transdiagnostic and diagnosis-specific CBT conditions, and no differences in treatment credibility.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence supporting the efficacy of transdiagnostic CBT by comparison to current gold-standard diagnosis-specific CBT for social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. Transdiagnostic group CBT has the benefit of potentially easing dissemination and increasing access to evidence-based treatments for anxiety without sacrificing efficacy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult