CBT & Quality of Life for Individuals with Anxiety Disorders

CBT studyCorrection Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 82(6) of Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (see record rid]2014-49169-001/rid]). In the article, the effect size of the Schnurr et al. (2003) study was incorrectly calculated because the standard error value was used instead of the standard deviation for the effect size formula. In addition, the Schnurr et al. (2007) study was omitted because it was not identified by the electronic search using keywords, but should have been identified by the authors’ manual search. The corrected and added effect sizes changed the results and are included.

Objective: Although cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective for treating anxiety disorders, little is known about its effect on quality of life. To conduct a meta-analysis of CBT for anxiety disorders on quality of life, we searched for relevant studies in PubMed, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library and conducted manual searches.

Method: The search identified 44 studies that included 59 CBT trials, totaling 3,326 participants receiving CBT for anxiety disorders. We estimated the controlled and within-group random effects of the treatment changes on quality of life.

Results: The pre-post within-group and controlled effect sizes were moderately strong (Hedges’s g = 0.54 and Hedges’s g = 0.56, respectively). Improvements were greater for physical and psychological domains of quality of life than for environmental and social domains. The overall effect sizes decreased with publication year and increased with treatment duration. Face-to-face treatments delivered individually and in groups produced significantly higher effect sizes than Internet-delivered treatments.

Conclusion: CBT for anxiety disorders is moderately effective for improving quality of life, especially in physical and psychological domains. Internet-delivered treatments are less effective than face-to-face treatments in improving quality of life.

Hofmann, S. G., Wu, J. Q., & Boettcher, H. (2014). Effect of cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders on quality of life: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82, 3, 375-391.

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