Patients with an anxiety disorder often meet criteria for a co-occurring mood disorder (Kessler et al., 2005). In addition, research suggests that treatments that target a principal anxiety disorder (e.g., panic disorder) may also lead to reductions in comorbid symptoms of depression (Allen et al., 2010). In aggregate, this evidence suggests that anxiety and depressive disorders likely share underlying core mechanisms of etiology and maintenance (Brown & Barlow, 2009). In fact, there is ample evidence to suggest that individuals with common conditions like anxiety and depression share high levels of negative affect, coupled with aversive reactions to these emotional experiences when they occur (Barlow, Sauer-Zavala, Carl, Bullis, & Ellard, 2014). The Unified Protocol for the Transdiagnostic Treatment of emotional disorders (UP; Barlow et al., 2011) is an intervention that was specifically developed to target these core mechanisms. However, the UP has been tested primarily for patients with anxiety disorders (Farchione et al., 2012). Research is limited on the efficacy of the UP for depressive disorders (Boswell et al., 2014). Given the UP’s aim of targeting underlying mechanisms, comorbid depression symptoms are expected to decrease with treatment. The current study aims to explore UP treatment outcomes for depressive symptoms.
Data will be examined for patients with comorbid depressive disorders receiving treatment for a principal anxiety disorder from a large randomized controlled trial. Patients’ symptoms were rated utilizing the Anxiety Disorders Interview Scale (ADIS-IV; Brown, DiNardo, & Barlow, 1994) and Structured Interview Guide for Hamilton Depression Scale (SIGH-D; Williams, 1988) at pre-, post-, 6- and 12-month follow-up to treatment. Data will be analyzed utilizing multiple regression. Additional analyses will also examine clinical significance in symptoms reduction, defined as a 30% or greater improvement for depressive symptoms (Ellard et al., 2010). It is hypothesized that patients treated with the UP will show a clinically significant reduction in depressive symptom severity at post-treatment and follow-ups compared to pre-treatment. Results and implications for future research will be discussed.
Amantia Ametaj– Student, Boston University, Brookline, Massachusetts
Danyele Homer– Student, Boston University
Shannon Sauer-Zavala– Research Assistant Professor, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
Todd Farchione– Research Associate Professor, Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
David H. Barlow– Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University
Research Assistant Professor
Research Associate Professor
Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Boston University