Effects of a program of cognitive-behavioural group therapy, vestibular rehabilitation, and psychoeducational explanations on patients with dizziness and no quantified balance deficit, compared to patients with dizziness and a quantified balance deficit

J Psychosom Res. 2018 Feb;105:21-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.11.020. Epub 2017 Dec 2.


Background: We examined whether a program combining cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), vestibular rehabilitation (VR) and psychoeducation is equally effective in improving psychometric measures in patients with dizziness independent of a balance deficit. Measures of patients with dizziness only (DO) were compared to those of patients also having a quantified balance deficit (QBD).

Methods: 32 patients (23 female, 9 male) with persistent dizziness were analysed as 2 groups based on stance and gait balance control: those with QBD (pathological balance) or DO (normal balance). Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) and Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) questionnaires were used pre- and post-therapy to assess psychometric measures. Patients then received the same combination therapy in a group setting.

Results: The QBD group mean age was 60.6, SD 8.3, and DO group mean age 44.8, SD 12.1, years. Pre-therapy, questionnaire scores were pathological but not different between groups. Balance improved significantly for the QBD group (p=0.003) but not for the DO group. DHI and BSI scores improved significantly in the DO group (0.001<p<0.045), some BSI sub-scores reaching normal levels. These scores were unchanged for the QBD group. Phobic anxiety scores changed most for both groups, being significantly correlated with DHI scores, higher (R=0.71 vs. 0.57) for the DO group.

Conclusions: A combination of CBT, VR, and psychoeducation improves psychological measures in DO patients but not significantly in QBD patients, despite their balance control improving to near normal. Possibly, greater focus on phobic anxiety during the group therapy program would have improved psychological measures of QBD patient.

Keywords: Dizziness; Group cognitive-behavioural therapy; Psychological measures; Vestibular rehabilitation, Psychoeducation, Balance deficits.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dizziness / physiopathology
  • Dizziness / psychology
  • Dizziness / therapy*
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vestibular Function Tests