A pilot study of a brief group adaptation of the Unified Protocol in integrated primary care

Psychol Serv. 2021 Aug;18(3):416-425. doi: 10.1037/ser0000406. Epub 2020 Jan 16.


Primary care clinics are a common treatment venue for a broad range of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depressive disorders, which are experienced by up to a fifth of primary care patients. Integrated primary care is a treatment model in which behavioral health providers are integrated into primary care clinics to treat mental health disorders and help improve the psychosocial functioning of patients. The Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders' (UP) focus on functional outcomes is consistent with the goals of integrated primary care. However, its 12-18 session length is not feasible for implementation in primary care. A 5-session group adaptation was developed for primary care. This pilot project examines changes in veterans' (n = 48) self-reported anxiety, depression, and psychosocial adjustment following completion of the 5-week group adaptation. Participants were enrolled in a Veterans' Health Administration (VHA) primary care clinic and were diagnosed with mild to moderate mood and stressor disorders. Treatment completers experienced improvements on all outcome measures with significant increases in the proportion of participants scoring in the subclinical range upon treatment completion (anxiety [50.0%]: t = 6.67, df = 45, p = .000; Cohen's d = .86; depression [62.5%]: t = 5.60, df = 45, p = .000; Cohen's d = .55; psychosocial functioning [35.4%]: t = 4.89, df = 36, p = .000; Cohen's d = .66). This pilot project demonstrates that a 5-session group adaptation of the UP may be a promising transdiagnostic treatment appropriate for the primary care setting. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders* / therapy
  • Anxiety*
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders
  • Pilot Projects
  • Primary Health Care