Effect of Hypnosis on Anxiety: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial with Women in Postmenopause

J Clin Psychol Med Settings. 2021 Dec;28(4):868-881. doi: 10.1007/s10880-021-09810-3. Epub 2021 Aug 17.


Anxiety is common, yet often under-treated, among women in postmenopause. This study examined the effect of a hypnotic intervention designed to reduce hot flashes, on anxiety levels of postmenopausal women. Anxiety was assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-Anxiety subscale, and a visual analog scale. Additionally, hypnotizability was tested as a moderator of anxiety reductions. Significant reductions in anxiety were found from baseline to endpoint and follow-up and hypnosis was superior to the control condition. Additionally, ratings of Current Anxiety decreased from pre-session to post-session at each weekly visit and the pre-session scores reduced continuously. Hypnotizability was found to moderate anxiety reductions, but regardless of hypnotizability level participants, on average, experienced significant symptom improvement from baseline scores. These data provide initial support for the use of hypnosis to reduce symptoms of anxiety among postmenopausal women.Trial registration: This study was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov on February 11, 2011 under Identifier number NCT01293695 ( https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01293695?term=Elkins&cond=hot+flashes&draw=2&rank=2 ).

Keywords: Anxiety; Hypnosis; Menopause; Postmenopause; Structured attention.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Female
  • Hot Flashes
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Postmenopause*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01293695