A pilot trial of a transdiagnostic treatment for emotional disorders-a locally adapted variant of group Unified Protocol (UP) for Chinese adults

Transl Behav Med. 2021 May 25;11(5):1142-1150. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibaa104.


There has been increasing interest in transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is more cost efficient yet yields similar effect sizes when compared to disorder-specific CBT. The Unified Protocol (UP) for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders was adapted for Hong Kong Chinese adults with common mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. It was piloted in community settings and delivered in a group format. Thirty-one Chinese adults (female = 93.5%, mean age = 44 years) with heterogeneous anxiety and depressive disorders were recruited from a number of public-funded community mental health centers in Hong Kong to participate in a pilot trial of a locally adapted variant of UP. Treatment consisted of 14 group sessions plus one individual session. Each group included six to nine participants. The diagnostic and outcome measures included Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for DSM-IV, The Chinese versions of Beck Depression Inventory-Revised (C-BDI-II), Beck Anxiety Inventory (C-BAI), Positive Affect subscale of Positive and Negative Affect Scale, and Work and Social Adjustment Scale. Results indicate significant improvement across a number of outcome measures, with moderate-to-large effect sizes for measures of depression (d = 1.11), anxiety (d = 0.67), positive affect (d = 0.54), and work and social functioning (d = 0.49). Furthermore, 45.2% and 29.0% of the participants scored within the normal range of C-BDI-II and C-BAI at posttreatment, respectively, compared to 3.2% and 6.5% at pretreatment. This pilot, uncontrolled trial demonstrated potential effectiveness of a locally adapted variant of group UP for Chinese adults with common mental disorders. It achieved comparable effect sizes to those observed in western populations.

Keywords: CBT; Chinese; Common mental disorders; Group; Transdiagnostic treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders* / therapy
  • China
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome