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Computer-assisted delivery of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders in primary-care settings


  • This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.


Objectives: This article describes a computer-assisted cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program designed to support the delivery of evidenced-based CBT for the four most commonly occurring anxiety disorders (panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder) in primary-care settings. The purpose of the current report is to (1) present the structure and format of the computer-assisted CBT program, and (2) to present evidence for acceptance of the program by clinicians and the effectiveness of the program for patients. Methods: Thirteen clinicians using the computer-assisted CBT program with patients in our ongoing Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management study provided Likert-scale ratings and open-ended responses about the program. Rating scale data from 261 patients who completed at least one CBT session were also collected Results: Overall, the program was highly rated and modally described as very helpful. Results indicate that the patients fully participated (i.e., attendance and homework compliance), understood the program material, and acquired CBT skills. In addition, significant and substantial improvements occurred to the same degree in randomly audited subsets of each of the four primary anxiety disorders (N=74), in terms of self ratings of anxiety, depression, and expectations for improvement. Conclusions: Computer-assisted CBT programs provide a practice-based system for disseminating evidence-based mental health treatment in primary-care settings while maintaining treatment fidelity, even in the hands of novice clinicians. Depression and Anxiety, 2009. Published 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.