Individual versus Group Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia

Cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) has been identified as an effective treatment for primary insomnia, and according to a recent study published in Sleep and Biological Rhythms, individual CBT-I may be a superior treatment approach to group CBT-I.

In the current study, researchers compared the short-term effectiveness of both individual and group CBT-I, in individuals who met DSM-IV-TR criteria for primary insomnia (i.e., a fear of insomnia, increased somatic tension, and mental arousal in bed).  In addition to primary diagnoses of insomnia, all participants in the study also reported chronic use of hypnotics and engaged in either individual CBT-I (n=20) or group CBT-I (n=25).  Both groups were exposed to the same major treatment components, including education concerning sleep hygiene, as well as stimulus control, sleep restriction, and cognitive therapies.  Pre and post-treatment evaluations utilized sleep logs, the Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep Scale (DBAS), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and actigraphy (a non-invasive method of monitoring human rest/activity cycles) to assess sleep outcomes between participant groups.

Findings revealed that overall, both individual and group CBT-I produced positive sleep outcomes.  However, across multiple objective and subjective sleep measurements, individual CBT-I resulted in significantly greater participant gains over group CBT-I.  These results support the use of individual CBT-I above group CBT-I when treating primary insomnia.

Yamadera, W., Sato, M., Harada, D., Iwashita, M., Aoki, R., Obuchi, K., Ozone, M., … Nakayama, K. (July 07, 2013). Comparisons of short-term efficacy between individual and group cognitive behavioral therapy for primary insomnia. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 11, 3, 176-184.

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