Meta-Analysis Comparing Different Behavioral Treatments for Late-Life Anxiety

Steven R. Thorp, Catherine R. Ayers, Roberto Nuevo, Jill A. Stoddard, John T. Sorrell, Julie Loebach Wetherell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of different types of behavioral treatments for geriatric anxiety (cognitive behavior therapy [CBT] alone, CBT with relaxation training [RT], and RT alone). Method: The authors compared effect sizes from 19 trials. Analyses were based on uncontrolled outcomes (comparing posttreatment and pretreatment scores) and effects relative to control conditions on both anxiety and depressive symptoms. Results: Treatments for older adults with anxiety symptoms were, on average, more effective than active control conditions. Effect sizes were comparable to those reported elsewhere for CBT for anxiety in the general population or for pharmacotherapy in anxious older adults. CBT (alone or augmented with RT) does not seem to add anything beyond RT alone, although a direct comparison is challenging given differences in control conditions. Effects on depressive symptoms were smaller, with no differences among treatment types. Conclusion: Results suggest that behavioral treatments are effective for older adults with anxiety disorders and symptoms. Results must be interpreted with caution given the limitations of the literature, including differing sample characteristics and control conditions across studies. (Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2009; 17:105-115)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-115
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

Keywords

  • Psychotherapy
  • geriatric
  • anxiety
  • relaxation training
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • OLDER-ADULTS
  • GENERALIZED ANXIETY
  • BENZODIAZEPINE USE
  • CONTROLLED-TRIAL
  • PANIC DISORDER
  • FOLLOW-UP
  • THERAPY
  • DEPRESSION
  • RELAXATION
  • HEALTH

Cite this