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Almost nothing is known about the potential negative effects of Internet-based psychological treatments for depression. This study aims at investigating deterioration and its moderators within randomized trials on Internet-based guided self-help for adult depression, using an individual patient data meta-analyses (IPDMA) approach.
Studies were identified through systematic searches (PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Cochrane Library). Deterioration in participants was defined as a significant symptom increase according to the reliable change index (i.e. 7.68 points in the CES-D; 7.63 points in the BDI). Two-step IPDMA procedures, with a random-effects model were used to pool data.
A total of 18 studies (21 comparisons, 2079 participants) contributed data to the analysis. The risk for a reliable deterioration from baseline to post-treatment was significantly lower in the intervention v. control conditions (3.36 v. 7.60; relative risk 0.47, 95% confidence interval 0.29–0.75). Education moderated effects on deterioration, with patients with low education displaying a higher risk for deterioration than patients with higher education. Deterioration rates for patients with low education did not differ statistically significantly between intervention and control groups. The benefit–risk ratio for patients with low education indicated that 9.38 patients achieve a treatment response for each patient experiencing a symptom deterioration.
Internet-based guided self-help is associated with a mean reduced risk for a symptom deterioration compared to controls. Treatment and symptom progress of patients with low education should be closely monitored, as some patients might face an increased risk for symptom deterioration. Future studies should examine predictors of deterioration in patients with low education.
Co-morbid anxiety and depression in older adults is associated with worse physical and mental health outcomes and poorer response to psychological and pharmacological treatments in older adults. However, there is a paucity of research focused on testing the efficacy of the co-morbid treatment of anxiety and depression in older adults using psychological interventions. Accordingly, the primary objective of the current study was to test the effects of a group cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) program in treating co-morbid anxiety and depression in a sample of older age adults.
A total of 133 community-dwelling participants aged ⩾60 years (mean age = 67.35, s.d. = 5.44, male = 59) with both an anxiety disorder and unipolar mood disorder, as assessed on the Anxiety Disorder Interview Schedule (ADIS), were randomly allocated to an 11-week CBT group or discussion group. Participants with Mini-Mental State Examination scores <26 were excluded. Participants were assessed pre-treatment, post-treatment and at 6 months follow-up on the ADIS, a brief measure of well-being, Geriatric Anxiety Inventory and Geriatric Depression Scale.
Both conditions resulted in significant improvements over time on all diagnostic, symptom and wellbeing measures. Significant group × time interaction effects emerged at post-treatment only for diagnostic severity of the primary disorder, mean severity of all anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and all disorders, and recovery rates on primary disorder.
Group CBT produced faster and sustained improvements in anxiety and depression on diagnostic severity and recovery rates compared to an active control in older adults.
Prior imaging studies have shown structural, functional and biochemical impairments in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), particularly in the right hemisphere. In this study we investigated, for the first time to the best of our knowledge, the white-matter microstructure organization in GAD.
A total of 12 patients with DSM-IV GAD and 15 matched healthy controls underwent a magnetic resonance imaging session of diffusion weighted imaging, exploring white-matter water molecules by the means of apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs). Regions of interests were placed in the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes and in the splenium and genu of the corpus callosum, bilaterally.
ADC measures were significantly greater in patients with GAD in the right splenium and right parietal cortex compared with healthy controls (p⩽0.002). No significant correlations between ADCs and age or clinical variables were found.
We provide evidence that GAD is associated with disrupted white-matter coherence of posterior right hemisphere regions, which may partly sustain the impaired cognitive regulation of anxiety. Future diffusion imaging investigations are expected to better elucidate the communication between the parietal cortex and other right hemisphere regions in sustaining the cognitive processing of social and emotional stimuli in patients with GAD.
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