Efficacy of applied relaxation and cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1993 Aug;61(4):611-9. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.61.4.611.


Nondirective (ND), applied relaxation (AR), and cognitive behavioral (CBT) therapies for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) were compared. The latter 2 conditions were generally equivalent in outcome but superior to ND at postassessment. The 3 conditions did not differ on several process measures, and ND created the greatest depth of emotional processing. Follow-up results indicated losses in gains in ND, maintained gains in the other 2 conditions, especially CBT, and highest endstate functioning for CBT. AR and CBT thus contain active ingredients in the treatment of GAD; support exists for further development of imagery exposure methods or cognitive therapy because of their likely role in promoting maintenance of change with this disorder. Expectancy for improvement was also associated with outcome, suggesting the need for further research on this construct for understanding the nature of GAD and its amelioration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Person-Centered Psychotherapy*
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome