Do anxiety and depression symptoms moderate the effect of motivational enhancement therapy as a pretreatment to dialectical behaviour therapy skills training? A follow-up analysis of a pilot randomised controlled trial for youth

Early Interv Psychiatry. 2021 Nov 23. doi: 10.1111/eip.13244. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Aim: We conducted a follow-up analysis of a pilot randomised controlled trial to examine whether baseline depression and anxiety symptoms moderated the impact of a motivational enhancement therapy (MET) pretreatment to dialectical behaviour therapy skill training (DBT-ST) for EA experiencing emotion dysregulation.

Methods: All participants completed a 12-week DBT-ST group intervention and participants in the MET/DBT-ST condition also completed a 4-week group MET pretreatment. Nineteen MET/DBT-ST participants and 26 DBT-ST only participants completed the treatment as per protocol.

Results: Baseline anxiety and depression symptoms moderated the impact of the MET pretreatment for participants' reductions in emotion dysregulation and psychological distress, respectively, at a 3-month follow-up: participants with more severe baseline symptoms benefited more from the pretreatment. However, baseline symptoms did not moderate the effect of MET immediately after treatment.

Conclusions: These results identified for whom MET is most effective as a pretreatment for DBT-ST amongst a heterogenous sample of EA in a real-world setting.

Keywords: dialectical behaviour therapy; early intervention; emerging adults; motivational enhancement therapy; motivational interviewing; youth.