Poor retention in HIV medical care is associated with increased mortality among patients with HIV/AIDS. Developing new interventions to improve retention in HIV primary care is needed. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is the largest single provider of HIV care in the US. We sought to understand what veterans would want in an intervention to improve retention in VA HIV care. We conducted 18 one-on-one interviews and 15 outpatient focus groups with 46 patients living with HIV infection from the Michael E. DeBakey VAMC (MEDVAMC). Analysis identified three focus areas for improving retention in care: developing an HIV friendly clinic environment, providing mental health and substance use treatment concurrent with HIV care and encouraging peer support from other Veterans with HIV.
To assist researchers and clinicians considering using the Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire (SCSRFQ) with older-adult samples, the current study analyzed the psychometrics of SCSRFQ scores in two older-adult samples.
Adults age 55 or older who had formerly participated in studies of cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety and/or depression were recruited to complete questionnaires. In Study 1 (N = 66), the authors assessed the relations between the SCSRFQ and other measures of religiousness/spirituality, mental health, and demographic variables, using bivariate correlations and nonparametric tests. In Study 2 (N = 223), the authors also conducted confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses of the SCSRFQ, as well as an Item Response Theory analysis.
The SCSRFQ was moderately to highly positively correlated with all measures of religiousness/spirituality. Relations with mental health were weak and differed across samples. Ethnic minorities scored higher than White participants on the SCSRFQ, but only in Study 2. Factor analyses showed that a single-factor model fit the SCSRFQ best. According to Item Response Theory analysis, SCSRFQ items discriminated well between participants with low-to-moderate levels of the construct but provided little information at higher levels.
Although the SCSRFQ scores had adequate psychometric characteristics, the measure’s usefulness may be limited in samples of older adults.
religion; spirituality; aging; mental health; measurement
The current study is a secondary analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial of CBT for late-life GAD (Stanley et al., 2014) which provided an opportunity to examine predictors of outcome among those who received CBT. Participants were 150 older adults who were randomized to receive 10 sessions of CBT. Completer analyses found that homework completion, number of sessions attended, lower worry severity, lower depression severity, and recruitment site predicted 6-month worry outcome on the PSWQ-A, whereas homework completion, credibility of the therapy, lower anxiety severity, and site predicted better 6-month anxiety outcome on the STAI-T. In intent-to-treat multivariate analyses, however, only initial worry and anxiety severity, site, and number of sessions completed predicted treatment outcome. These results are largely consistent with predictors of outcome in younger adults and suggest that lower initial symptom severity and variables consistent with greater engagement in treatment predict outcome.
generalized anxiety disorder; cognitive behavioral therapy; predictors of outcome; older adults
The Institute of Medicine advocates the examination of innovative models of care to expand mental health services available for older adults. This article describes training and supervision procedures in a recent clinical trial of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for older adults with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) delivered by bachelor-level lay providers (BLPs) and to Ph.D.-level expert providers (PLPs). Supervision and training differences, ratings by treatment integrity raters (TIRs), treatment characteristics, and patient perceptions between BLPs and PLPs are examined. The training and supervision procedures for BLPs led to comparable integrity ratings, patient perceptions, and treatment characteristics compared with PLPs. These results support this training protocol as a model for future implementation and effectiveness trials of CBT for late-life GAD, with treatment delivered by lay providers supervised by a licensed provider in other practice settings.
Psychotherapy; Lay providers; Older adults
We examined the presence and frequency of alcohol consumption among older primary care patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and their relation to demographic variables, insomnia, worry, and anxiety. We expected alcohol-use distribution to be similar to previous reports and alcohol use to be associated with higher anxiety and insomnia. A third aim was to examine the moderating role of alcohol use on the relation between anxiety and insomnia. We expected alcohol use to worsen the relation between anxiety and insomnia.
Baseline data from a randomized controlled trial
223 patients, age 60 and older, with DSM-IV GAD diagnoses
Patients were recruited through internal medicine, family practice, and geriatric clinics at 2 diverse healthcare settings: Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Administration Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine.
Measures addressed alcohol use (presence and frequency); insomnia (Insomnia Severity Index); self-reported worry severity (Penn State Worry Questionnaire − Abbreviated); clinician-rated worry severity (Generalized Anxiety Disorder Severity Scale); self-reported anxiety severity (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory - Trait); and clinician-rated anxiety (Structured Interview Guidelines for the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale).
Most patients endorsed alcohol use in the past month, but overall weekly frequency was low. Presence and frequency of use among patients with GAD were greater than in prior reports of primary care samples. Alcohol use among patients with GAD was associated with higher education and female gender. Higher education also was associated with more drinks per week, and Caucasians reported more drinks per week than African Americans. Alcohol use was associated with less severe insomnia, lower self-reported anxiety, and less clinician-rated worry and anxiety. More drinks per week were associated with lower clinician-rated anxiety. Moderation analyses revealed lower relations between worry/anxiety and insomnia for those who reported drinking than for those who reported not drinking. Frequency of drinks per week moderated the association between PSWQ-A and insomnia, such that the positive association between self-reported worry and insomnia was lower with higher frequency of drinking.
Older adults with GAD appear to use alcohol at an increased rate, but mild-to-moderate drinkers do not appear to experience sleep difficulties. In fact, use of a modest amount of alcohol may be beneficial for minimizing the association between anxiety/worry and insomnia among older adults with GAD.
alcohol use; generalized anxiety disorder; insomnia
Quality of life (QOL) is lower in older adults with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). QOL generally improves following cognitive-behavioral treatment for GAD. Little is known, however, about additional variables predicting changes in QOL in older adults with GAD. This study examined predictors of change in QOL among older participants in a randomized clinical trial of cognitive behavioral thera for GAD, relative to enhanced usual care.
Hierarchical multilevel mixed-model analyses were used to examine inter-individual and intra-individual factors that predicted QOL over time. Predictors were categorized into treatment, personal and clinical characteristics.
QOL improved over time, and there was significant variability between participants in change in QOL. Controlling for treatment condition, baseline general self-efficacy, baseline social support, within-person variation in worry and depression and average levels of depression across different time points predicted changes in QOL.
QOL has increasingly been used as an outcome measure in treatment outcome studies to focus on overall improvement in functioning. Attention to improvement in symptoms of depression and worry, along with psychosocial variables, such as social support and self-efficacy, may help improve QOL in older adults with GAD.
generalized anxiety disorder; quality of life; predictors; older adults
This study investigated the relation between generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and frequency of bad dreams in older adults. A secondary analysis from a randomized clinical trial comparing cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety (CBT) to enhanced usual care (EUC), it assessed bad dream frequency at baseline, post-treatment (3 months), and 6, 9, 12 and 15 months. Of 227 participants (mean age = 67.4), 134 met GAD diagnostic criteria (CBT = 70, EUC = 64), with the remaining 93 serving as a comparison group. Patients with GAD had significantly more bad dreams than those without, and bad dream frequency was significantly associated with depression, anxiety, worry, and poor quality of life. CBT for anxiety significantly reduced bad dream frequency at post-treatment and throughout follow-up compared to EUC.
Bad dreams; older adults; anxiety; GAD; CBT
Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent among individuals with dementia and have a significant negative impact on their lives. Peaceful Mind is a form of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for anxiety in persons with dementia. The Peaceful Mind manual was developed, piloted and modified over 2 years. In an open trial and a small randomized, controlled trial, it decreased anxiety and caregiver distress. The treatment meets the unique needs of individuals with dementia by emphasizing behavioral rather than cognitive interventions, slowing the pace, limiting the material to be learned, increasing repetition and practice, using cues to stimulate memory, including a friend or family member in treatment as a coach, and providing sessions in the home. The manual presented here includes modules that teach specific skills, including awareness, breathing, calming self-statements, increasing activity, and sleep management, as well as general suggestions for treatment delivery.
To assess feasibility and to conduct a preliminary evaluation of outcomes following Peaceful Mind, a CBT-based intervention for anxiety in dementia, relative to usual care (UC).
Pilot randomized controlled trial including assessments at baseline, 3 and 6 months
32 outpatients diagnosed with mild (47%) or moderate (53%) dementia receiving care through outpatient clinics at the Veterans Affairs medical center, Baylor College of Medicine, Harris County Hospital District and community day centers for dementia, and their collaterals, who spent at least 8 hours a week with them.
Peaceful Mind included up to 12 weekly in-home sessions (mean = 8.7, SD = 2.27) during the initial 3 months and up to eight brief telephone sessions (mean = 5.4, SD = 3.17) during months 3 to 6, involving self-monitoring for anxiety, deep breathing, and optional skills (coping self-statements, behavioral activation and sleep management). Patients learned skills, and collaterals served as coaches. In UC, patients received diagnostic feedback; and providers were informed of inclusion status.
Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Anxiety subscale, Rating Anxiety in Dementia scale, Penn State Worry Questionnaire-Abbreviated, Geriatric Anxiety Inventory, Geriatric Depression Scale, Quality of Life in Alzheimer’s disease, Patient Health Questionnaire, Client Satisfaction Questionnaire
Feasibility was demonstrated with regard to recruitment, attrition, and treatment characteristics. At 3 months, clinicians rated patients receiving Peaceful Mind as less anxious, and patients rated themselves as having higher quality of life; collaterals reported less distress related to loved ones’ anxiety. Although significant positive effects were not noted in other outcomes or at 6-month follow-up, the pilot nature of the trial prohibits conclusions about efficacy.
Results support that Peaceful Mind is ready for future comparative clinical trials.
anxiety; dementia; cognitive behavioral therapy; self-ratings; proxy ratings
Recognition of the significance of anxiety disorders in older adults is growing. The revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) provides a timely opportunity to consider potential improvements to diagnostic criteria for psychiatric disorders for use with older people. The authors of this paper comprise the Advisory Committee to the DSM5 Lifespan Disorders Work Group, the purpose of which was to generate informative responses from individuals with clinical and research expertise in the field of late-life anxiety disorders.
This paper reviews the unique features of anxiety in later life and synthesizes the work of the Advisory Committee.
Suggestions are offered for refining our understanding of the effects of aging on anxiety and other disorders (e.g., mood disorders) and changes to the DSM5 criteria and text that could facilitate more accurate recognition and diagnosis of anxiety disorders in older adults. Several of the recommendations are not limited to the study of anxiety but rather are applicable across the broader field of geriatric mental health.
DSM5 should provide guidelines for the thorough assessment of avoidance, excessiveness, and comorbid conditions (e.g., depression, medical illness, cognitive impairment) in anxious older adults.
aging; anxiety; geriatric mental health; DSM-V; older adult; later life
Effective implementation strategies are needed to improve the adoption of evidence-based psychotherapy in primary care settings. This study provides pilot data on the test of an implementation strategy conducted as part of a multisite randomized controlled trial examining a brief cognitive-behavioral therapy versus usual care for medically ill patients in primary care, using a hybrid (type II) effectiveness/implementation design. The implementation strategy was multifaceted and included (1) modular-based online clinician training, (2) treatment fidelity auditing with expert feedback, and (3) internal and external facilitation to provide ongoing consultation and support of practice. Outcomes included descriptive and qualitative data on the feasibility and acceptability of the implementation strategy, as well as initial indicators of clinician adoption and treatment fidelity. Results suggest that a comprehensive implementation strategy to improve clinician adoption of a brief cognitive-behavioral therapy in primary care is feasible and effective for reaching high levels of adoption and fidelity.
Primary care; Hybrid effectiveness-implementation designs; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Veterans; Anxiety; Depression
To increase sustainability of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) in primary care for late-life anxiety, we incorporated non-expert counselors, options for telephone meetings, and integration with primary care clinicians.
This open trial examines the feasibility, satisfaction and clinical outcomes of CBT delivered by experienced and non-experienced counselors for older adults with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Clinical outcomes assessed worry (Penn State Worry Questionnaire), GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder Severity Scale), and anxiety (Beck Anxiety Inventory and Structured Interview Guide for Hamilton Anxiety Scale).
Following 3 months of treatment, Cohen’s d effect sizes for worry and anxiety ranged from .48 to .78. Patients treated by experienced and non-experienced counselors had similar reductions in worry and anxiety, although treatment outcomes were more improved on the Beck Anxiety Inventory for experienced therapists.
Preliminary results suggest adapted CBT can effectively reduce worry. The piloted modifications can provide acceptable and feasible evidence-based care.
cognitive behavioral therapy; generalized anxiety disorder; primary care; older adults; mental health
Increasing numbers of patients are treated in integrated primary care mental health programs. The current study examined predictors of satisfaction with treatment in patients from a randomized clinical trial of late-life generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in primary care. Higher treatment satisfaction was associated with receiving CBT rather than enhanced usual care. Treatment credibility, treatment expectancies, social support, and improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms predicted higher treatment satisfaction in the total sample. In the CBT group, only credibility and adherence with treatment predicted satisfaction. This suggests that older patients receiving CBT who believe more strongly in the treatment rationale and follow the therapist’s recommendations more closely are likely to report satisfaction at the end of treatment. In addition, this study found that adherence mediated the relationship between treatment credibility and treatment satisfaction. In other words, patients’ perceptions that the treatment made sense for them led to greater treatment adherence which then increased their satisfaction with treatment.
Primary Care; Psychotherapy; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Older Adults; Treatment Satisfaction; Adherence; Expectancies; Social Support
Multisystemic therapy (MST) is effective for decreasing or preventing delinquency and other externalizing behaviors and increasing prosocial or adaptive behaviors. The purpose of this project was to review the literature examining the efficacy of MST for other child psychological and health problems reflecting non-externalizing behaviors, specifically difficulties related to child maltreatment, serious psychiatric illness [Serious psychiatric illness was defined throughout the current review paper as the “presence of symptoms of suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, psychosis, or threat of harm to self or others due to mental illness severe enough to warrant psychiatric hospitalization based on the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Level of care placement criteria for psychiatric illness. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Washington, DC, 1996) level of care placement criteria for psychiatric illness” (Henggeler et al. in J Am Acad Child Psy 38:1331–1345, p. 1332, 1999b). Additionally, youth with “serious emotional disturbance (SED)” defined as internalizing and/or externalizing problems severe enough to qualify for mental health services in public school who were “currently in or at imminent risk of a costly out-of-home placement” (Rowland et al. in J Emot Behav Disord 13:13–23, pp. 13–14, 2005) were also included in the serious psychiatric illness category.], and health problems (i.e., obesity and treatment adherence for diabetes). PubMed, Web of Science, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO databases; Clinicaltrials.gov; DARE; Web of Knowledge; and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched; and MST developers were queried to ensure identification of all relevant articles. Of 242 studies identified, 18 met inclusion criteria for review. These were combined in a narrative synthesis and critiqued in the context of review questions. Study quality ratings were all above mean scores reported in prior reviews. Mixed support was found for the efficacy of MST versus other treatments. In many cases, treatment effects for MST or comparison groups were not sustained over time. MST was efficacious for youth with diverse backgrounds. No studies discussed efficacy of MST provided in different treatment settings. Four studies found MST more cost-effective than a comparison treatment, leading to fewer out-of-home placements for youth with serious psychiatric illness or lower treatment costs for youth with poorly controlled diabetes.
Multisystemic; Treatment; Internalizing; Maltreatment; Health problems
We compared the psychometric performance of two validated self-report anxiety- symptom measures when rated by people with dementia versus collaterals (as proxies). Forty-one participants with mild-to-moderate dementia and their respective collaterals completed the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory, the Penn State Worry Questionnaire-Abbreviated, and a structured diagnostic interview. We used descriptive and nonparametric statistics to compare scores according to respondent characteristics. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were calculated to establish the predictive validity of each instrument by rater type against a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. Participant and collateral ratings performed comparably for both instruments. However, collaterals tended to give more severe symptom ratings, and the best-performing cut-off scores were higher for collaterals. Our findings suggest that people with mild-to-moderate dementia can give reliable self-reports of anxiety symptoms, with validity comparable to reports obtained from collaterals. Scores obtained from multiple informants should be interpreted in context.
worry; anxiety; elders; dementia; self-ratings; proxy ratings
The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) is a widely used, comprehensive self-report measure of sleep quality and impairment, which has demonstrated good psychometric properties within various populations, including older adults. However, the psychometric properties of the PSQI and its component scores have not been evaluated for older adults with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Additionally, changes in PSQI global or component scores have not been reported following cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) of late-life GAD. This study examined (1) the psychometric properties of the PSQI within a sample of 216 elderly primary care patients age 60 or older with GAD who were referred for treatment of worry and/or anxiety; as well as (2) response to CBT, relative to usual care, for 134 patients with principal or coprincipal GAD. The PSQI demonstrated good internal consistency reliability and adequate evidence of construct validity. Those receiving CBT experienced greater reductions in PSQI global scores at post-treatment, relative to those receiving usual care. Further, PSQI global and domain scores pertaining to sleep quality and difficulties falling asleep (i.e., sleep latency and sleep disturbances) demonstrated response to treatment over a 12-month follow-up period. Overall, results highlight the usefulness of the PSQI global and component scores for use in older adults with GAD.
Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; psychometrics; generalized anxiety disorder; elderly; cognitive behavioral therapy
Older adults face a number of barriers to receiving psychotherapy, such as a lack of transportation and access to providers. One way to overcome such barriers is to provide treatment by telephone. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy delivered by telephone (CBT-T) to older adults diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Randomized controlled trial.
Sixty participants ≥ 60 years of age with a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, or Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
CBT-T vs. information-only comparison.
Co-primary outcomes included worry (Penn State Worry Questionnaire) and general anxiety (State Trait Anxiety Inventory). Secondary outcomes included clinician-rated anxiety (Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale), anxiety sensitivity (Anxiety Sensitivity Index), depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory), quality of life (SF-36), and sleep (Insomnia Severity Index). Assessments were completed prior to randomization, immediately upon completion of treatment, and 6 months after completing treatment.
CBT-T was superior to information-only in reducing general anxiety (ES = 0.71), worry (ES = 0.61), anxiety sensitivity (ES = 0.85), and insomnia (ES = 0.82) at the post-treatment assessment; however, only the reductions in worry were maintained by the 6 month follow-up assessment (ES = 0.80).
These results suggest that CBT-T may be efficacious in reducing anxiety and worry in older adults, but additional sessions may be needed to maintain these effects.
anxiety; cognitive-behavioral therapy; elderly; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Panic Disorder; telephone-delivered psychotherapy
The Rating Anxiety in Dementia (RAID; Shankar et al, 1999)is a clinical rating scale developed to evaluate anxiety in persons with dementia. This report explores the psychometric properties and clinical utility of a new structured interview format of the RAID (RAID-SI), developed to standardize administration and scoring based on information obtained from the patient, an identified collateral, and rater observation.
The RAID-SI was administered by trained master’s level raters. Participants were 32 persons with dementia who qualified for an anxiety treatment outcome study. Self-report anxiety, depression, and quality of life measures were administered to both the person with dementia and a collateral.
The RAID-SI exhibited adequate internal consistency reliability and inter-rater reliability. There was also some evidence of construct validity as indicated by significant correlations with other measures of patient-reported and collateral-reported anxiety, and non-significant correlations with collateral reports of patient depression and quality of life. Further, RAID-SI scores were significantly higher in persons with an anxiety diagnosis compared to those without an anxiety diagnosis.
There is evidence that the RAID-SI exhibits good reliability and validity in older adults with dementia. The advantage of the structured interview format is increased standardization in administration and scoring, which may be particularly important when RAID raters are not experienced clinicians.
dementia; anxiety; clinical interview; assessment; Rating for Anxiety in Dementia
Although peer interventionists have been successful in medication treatment-adherence interventions, their role in complex behavior-change approaches to promote entry and reentry into HIV care requires further investigation. The current study sought to describe and test the feasibility of a standardized peer-mentor training program used for MAPPS (Mentor Approach for Promoting Patient Self-Care), a study designed to increase engagement and attendance at HIV outpatient visits among high-risk HIV inpatients using HIV-positive peer interventionists to deliver a comprehensive behavioral change intervention. Development of MAPPS and its corresponding training program included collaborations with mentors from a standing outpatient mentor program. The final training program included (1) a half-day workshop; (2) practice role-plays; and (3) formal, standardized patient role-plays, using trained actors with “real-time” video observation (and ratings from trainers). Mentor training occurred over a 6-week period and required demonstration of adherence and skill, as rated by MAPPS trainers. Although time intensive, ultimate certification of mentors suggested the program was both feasible and effective. Survey data indicated mentors thought highly of the training program, while objective rating data from trainers indicated mentors were able to understand and display standards associated with intervention fidelity. Data from the MAPPS training program provide preliminary evidence that peer mentors can be trained to levels necessary to ensure intervention fidelity, even within moderately complex behavioral-change interventions. Although additional research is needed due to limitations of the current study (e.g., limited generalizability due to sample size and limited breadth of clinical training opportunities), data from the current trial suggest that training programs such as MAPPS appear both feasible and effective.
Overlap of cognitive and anxiety symptoms (i.e., difficulty concentrating, fatigue, restlessness) contributes to inconsistent, complicated assessment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)in persons with dementia.
Anxious dementia patients completed a psychiatric interview, the Penn State Worry Questionnaire-Abbreviated, and the Rating for Anxiety in Dementia scale. Analyses to describe the 43 patients with and without GAD included the Wilcoxon Mann-Whitney two-sample test, Fisher’s exact test. Predictors of GAD diagnosis were identified using logistic regression.
Those with GAD were more likely to be male, have less severe dementia and endorsed more worry, and anxiety compared to patients without GAD. Gender, muscle tension and fatigue differentiated those with GAD from those without GAD.
Although this study is limited by a small sample, it describes clinical characteristics of GAD in dementia, highlighting the importance of muscle tension and fatigue in recognizing GAD in persons with dementia.
Generalized anxiety disorder; dementia; anxiety symptoms; dementia symptoms; differential diagnosis for generalized anxiety disorder/dementia
Response to treatment for late-life generalized anxiety disorder has been defined by a variety of methods, all based on statistically significant reductions in symptom severity. However, it is unknown whether these improvements in symptom severity are associated with meaningful differences in everyday functioning. The current study used four methods to define response to treatment for 115 primary care patients, age 60 and older, with a principal or co-principal diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder. The methods examined included percent improvement, reliable change index and minimal clinically significant differences. Agreement among classification methods and their associations with general and mental health related quality of life were assessed. Results indicated moderate agreement among symptom-based classification methods and significant associations with measures of quality of life.
GAD; older adults; treatment response; quality of life
While psychosocial interventions for late-life anxiety show positive outcomes, treatment effects are not as robust as in younger adults. To date, the reach of research has been limited to academic and primary care settings, with homogeneous samples. The current review examines recently funded and ongoing late-life anxiety research that uses innovative approaches to reach unique patient populations and tailor treatment content and delivery options to meet the unique needs of older adults.
A systematic search was conducted using electronic databases of funded clinical trials to identify ongoing psychosocial intervention studies targeting older adults with anxiety. The principal investigators of the studies were contacted for study details and preliminary data, if available. In some cases, the principal investigators of identified studies acted as referral sources in identifying additional studies.
Eleven studies met inclusion criteria and represented three areas of innovation: new patient groups, novel treatment procedures, and new treatment delivery options. Studies and their associated theoretical bases are discussed, along with preliminary results reported in published papers or conference presentations.
Psychosocial intervention trials currently in progress represent promising new strategies to facilitate engagement and improve outcomes among unique subsets of older adults with anxiety. Continued investigation of evidence-based treatments for geriatric anxiety will allow greater understanding of how best to tailor the interventions to fit the needs of older adults.
psychosocial treatment; late life anxiety; generalized anxiety disorder; older adults; review
Despite the availability of evidence-based psychotherapies for depression and anxiety, they are underused in non-mental health specialty settings such as primary care. Hybrid effectiveness-implementation designs have the potential to evaluate clinical and implementation outcomes of evidence-based psychotherapies to improve their translation into routine clinical care practices.
This protocol article discusses the study methodology and implementation strategies employed in an ongoing, hybrid, type 2 randomized controlled trial with two primary aims: (1) to determine whether a brief, manualized cognitive behavioral therapy administered by Veterans Affairs Primary Care Mental Health Integration program clinicians is effective in treating depression and anxiety in a sample of medically ill (chronic cardiopulmonary diseases) primary care patients and (2) to examine the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary outcomes of a focused implementation strategy on improving adoption and fidelity of brief cognitive behavioral therapy at two Primary Care-Mental Health Integration clinics. The study uses a hybrid type 2 effectiveness/implementation design to simultaneously test clinical effectiveness and to collect pilot data on a multifaceted implementation strategy that includes an online training program, audit and feedback of session content, and internal and external facilitation. Additionally, the study engages the participation of an advisory council consisting of stakeholders from Primary Care-Mental Health Integration, as well as regional and national mental health leaders within the Veterans Administration. It targets recruitment of 320 participants randomized to brief cognitive behavioral therapy (n = 200) or usual care (n = 120). Both effectiveness and implementation outcomes are being assessed using mixed methods, including quantitative evaluation (e.g., intent-to-treat analyses across multiple time points) and qualitative methods (e.g., focus interviews and surveys from patients and providers). Patient-effectiveness outcomes include measures of depression, anxiety, and physical health functioning using blinded independent evaluators. Implementation outcomes include patient engagement and adherence and clinician brief cognitive behavioral therapy adoption and fidelity.
Hybrid designs are needed to advance clinical effectiveness and implementation knowledge to improve healthcare practices. The current article describes the rationale and challenges associated with the use of a hybrid design for the study of brief cognitive behavioral therapy in primary care. Although trade-offs exist between scientific control and external validity, hybrid designs are part of an emerging approach that has the potential to rapidly advance both science and practice.
Primary care; Hybrid effectiveness-implementation designs; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Mental health; Veterans; Anxiety; Depression