Category: Treatment - ACT

Symposium

ACT for Comorbid Social Anxiety and Depression Versus Medication as Usual: A Pilot Randomized Trial

Friday, November 17
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom A, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) | Social Anxiety | Depression
Presentation Type: Symposium

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) and depression are highly comorbid, and this comorbidity pattern often results in greater severity/functional impairment and poorer treatment outcomes. Preliminary support exists for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for SAD and depression separately, and there is some evidence to suggest that it may be particularly helpful for individuals experiencing comorbid anxiety and depression. A prior open trial of ACT for comorbid SAD and depression showed clinically significant improvement over the course of 16 individual sessions. The present study aimed to further test the treatment by examining the feasibility and acceptability of ACT for comorbid SAD and depression in a pilot randomized controlled trial.


Participants (n = 27) were patients seeking treatment at a routine hospital-based outpatient psychiatry practice, and were recruited between July 2012 and January 2016. Patients were adults with DSM-IV diagnoses of SAD and a depressive disorder, who were randomly assigned to medication as usual (MAU) or medication as usual plus ACT (MAU+ACT).  Patients in MAU attended medication management sessions as determined by their treating psychiatrist; patients in MAU+ACT received 16 weekly, individual sessions of ACT in addition to medication management. Clinician-rated and self-report assessments were completed at pre-treatment, 8 weeks, and 16 weeks. Preliminary analyses indicated no significant differences between groups on measures at pre-treatment.  Using intent-to-treat-data, Cohen’s d between groups effect sizes at 16 weeks were small for SAD fear (0.38), yet medium-to-large for SAD avoidance (0.69) and quality of life (0.67), favoring the MAU+ACT condition.  Results were consistent with the ACT theoretical model, and support the importance of assessing behavioral and quality of life variables with this treatment approach. Additional results will be presented on depression outcomes and process measures, such as psychological flexibility and behavioral activation.

Kristy Dalrymple

Rhode Island Hospital/Alpert Medical School of Brown University

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ACT for Comorbid Social Anxiety and Depression Versus Medication as Usual: A Pilot Randomized Trial



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