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1.  D-Cycloserine Augmentation of Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy of Social Anxiety Disorder: Prognostic and Prescriptive Variables 
The aim of the current study was to identify individual characteristics that (1) predict symptom improvement with group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD; i.e., prognostic variables) or (2) moderate the effects of d-cycloserine vs. placebo augmentation of CBT for SAD (i.e., prescriptive variables).
Adults with SAD (N=169) provided Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) scores in a trial evaluating DCS augmentation of group CBT. Rate of symptom improvement during therapy and posttreatment symptom severity were evaluated using multilevel modeling. As predictors of these two parameters, we selected the range of variables assessed at baseline (demographic characteristics, clinical characteristics, personality traits). Using step-wise analyses, we first identified prognostic and prescriptive variables within each of these domains and then entered these significant predictors simultaneously in one final model.
African American ethnicity and cohabitation status were associated with greater overall rates of improvement during therapy and lower posttreatment severity. Higher initial severity was associated with a greater improvement during therapy, but also higher posttreatment severity (the greater improvement was not enough to overcome the initial higher severity). D-cycloserine augmentation was evident only among individuals low in conscientiousness and high in agreeableness.
African American ethnicity, cohabitation status, and initial severity are prognostic of favorable CBT outcomes in SAD. D-cycloserine augmentation appears particularly useful for patients low in conscientiousness and high in agreeableness. These findings can guide clinicians in making decisions about treatment strategies and can help direct research on the mechanisms of these treatments.
PMCID: PMC4241751  PMID: 23937345
Cognitive-behavioral therapy; d-cycloserine; CBT; social anxiety disorder; social phobia; randomized controlled trial; predictors; moderators; personality traits
Depression and anxiety  2013;30(11):1114-1120.
Sleep quality may be an important, yet relatively neglected, predictor of treatment outcome in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders. Specifically, poor sleep quality may impair memory consolidation of in-session extinction learning. We therefore examined sleep quality as a predictor of treatment outcome in CBT for social anxiety disorder and the impact of d-cycloserine (DCS) on this relationship.
One hundred sixty-nine participants with a primary diagnosis of DSM-IV generalized social anxiety disorder were recruited across three sites. Participants were enrolled in 12 weeks of group CBT. Participants randomly received 50 mg of DCS (n = 87) or pill placebo (n = 82) 1 hr prior to sessions 3–7. Participants completed a baseline measure of self-reported sleep quality and daily diaries recording subjective feelings of being rested upon wakening. Outcome measures including social anxiety symptoms and global severity scores were assessed at each session.
Poorer baseline sleep quality was associated with slower improvement and higher posttreatment social anxiety symptom and severity scores. Moreover, patients who felt more “rested” after sleeping the night following a treatment session had lower levels of symptoms and global severity at the next session, controlling for their symptoms and severity scores the previous session. Neither of these effects were moderated by DCS condition.
Our findings suggest that poor sleep quality diminishes the effects of CBT for social anxiety disorder and this relation is not attenuated by DCS administration. Therapeutic attention to sleep quality prior to initiation of CBT and during the acute treatment phase may be clinically indicated.
PMCID: PMC4043139  PMID: 24038728
sleep quality; cognitive behavioral therapy; psychotherapy; social anxiety disorder; social phobia; d-cycloserine
3.  Extreme Attributions Predict Transition from Depression to Mania or Hypomania in Bipolar Disorder 
Journal of psychiatric research  2013;47(10):1329-1336.
Relatively little is known about psychological predictors of the onset of mania among individuals with bipolar disorder, particularly during episodes of depression. In the present study we investigated attributional style as a predictor of onset of hypomanic, manic or mixed episodes among bipolar adults receiving psychosocial treatment for depression. We hypothesized that “extreme” (i.e., excessively pessimistic or optimistic) attributions would predict a greater likelihood of developing an episode of mood elevation.
Outpatients with DSM-IV bipolar I or II disorder (N=105) enrolled in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD) were randomly allocated to one of three types of intensive psychotherapy for depression or a brief psychoeducational intervention. Patients completed a measure of attributional style at baseline and were followed prospectively for up to one year. All analyses were by intent to treat.
Logistic regressions and Cox proportional hazards models indicated that extreme (both positively- and negatively-valenced) attributions predicted a higher likelihood of (and shorter time until) transition from depression to a (hypo)manic or mixed episode (ps < .04), independent of the effects of manic or depressive symptom severity at baseline. Extreme attributions were also retrospectively associated with more lifetime episodes of (hypo)mania and depression (ps < .05).
Evaluating extreme attributions may help clinicians to identify patients who are at risk for experiencing a more severe course of bipolar illness, and who may benefit from treatments that introduce greater cognitive flexibility.
PMCID: PMC3743936  PMID: 23791456
attributional style; cognitive style; cognitive vulnerability; mania; hypomania; manic switch
4.  D-cycloserine Enhancement of Exposure Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder Depends on the Success of Exposure Sessions 
Journal of psychiatric research  2013;47(10):1455-1461.
The evidence for the efficacy of D-cycloserine (DCS) for augmenting cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders has been mixed. Guided by preclinical research and initial findings from a small-scale study involving humans, we tested the hypothesis that DCS enhancement of exposure therapy would be specific to successful exposure sessions.
Medication-free adults with generalized social anxiety disorder (N = 145) received 50 mg of DCS or placebo 1 hour before each of 5 exposure sessions that were part of a standardized 12-session group CBT protocol. Participants provided fear ratings at the beginning and just before the end of exposure exercises. Independent raters, blind to group assignment, administered the clinical global impression improvement and severity scales at each session and at posttreatment.
Mixed-effects analyses revealed that, among patients who reported low fear at the end of an exposure session, those who had received DCS evidenced significantly greater clinical improvement at the next session, relative to those who had received placebo. In contrast, when exposure end fear was high, patients receiving DCS exhibited less clinical improvement at the following session than patients receiving placebo. Similarly, patients who had received DCS evidenced lower clinical severity at posttreatment, relative to patients who had received placebo, only when their average end fear for medication-augmented sessions had been in the low to moderate range. Finally, these moderating effects of exposure success as indexed by end fear were not better accounted for by within-session extinction.
The efficacy of DCS for augmenting exposure-based CBT depends on the success of exposure sessions. These findings may help guide the development of an algorithm for the effective use of DCS for augmenting exposure-based CBT.
Trial Registry, ID# NCT00633984,
PMCID: PMC3747985  PMID: 23870811
CBT; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Exposure therapy; Fear extinction; D-cycloserine; Moderators; Social Anxiety Disorder; Social Phobia
5.  Patient Preference for Psychological vs. Pharmacological Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: A Meta-Analytic Review 
Models of evidence-based practice emphasize the consideration of treatment efficacy/effectiveness, clinical expertise, and patient preference in treatment selection and implementation. However, patient preference for psychiatric treatment has been understudied. The aim of this meta-analytic review was to provide an estimate of the proportion of patients preferring psychological treatment relative to medication for psychiatric disorders.
Data Sources
A literature search was conducted using PubMed, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Collaboration Library through August, 2011 for studies written in English that assessed patient preferences for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Study Selection
Studies assessing the preferred type of treatment including at least one psychological treatment and one pharmacological treatment were included. Of the 641 articles initially identified, 34 met criteria for inclusion.
Data Extraction
Authors extracted relevant data including the proportion of participants reporting preference for psychological and pharmacological treatment.
Across studies, the proportion preferring psychological treatment was 0.75 (95% CI: 0.69 to 0.80), which was significantly higher than equivalent preference (i.e., higher than 0.50, p < .001). Sensitivity analyses suggested that younger patients (p < .05) and women (p < .01) were significantly more like to choose psychological treatment. A preference for psychological treatment was consistently evident in both treatment-seeking and unselected samples (ps < .05), but was somewhat stronger for the unselected samples.
Aggregation of patient preferences across diverse settings yielded a significant three-fold preference for psychological treatment relative to medication. Given the similar efficacy of these treatments for depression and anxiety, improving access to evidence-based psychological treatment is needed to connect more patients to their preferred treatment.
PMCID: PMC4156137  PMID: 23842011
6.  Mood regulation and quality of life in social anxiety disorder: An examination of generalized expectancies for negative mood regulation 
Journal of anxiety disorders  2012;26(3):435-441.
The present study examined negative mood regulation expectancies, anxiety symptom severity, and quality of life in a sample of 167 patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) and 165 healthy controls with no DSM-IV Axis I disorders. Participants completed the Generalized Expectancies for Negative Mood Regulation Scale (NMR), the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire. SAD symptom severity was assessed using the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale. Individuals with SAD scored significantly lower than controls on the NMR. Among SAD participants, NMR scores were negatively correlated with anxiety symptoms and SAD severity, and positively correlated with quality of life. NMR expectancies positively predicted quality of life even after controlling for demographic variables, comorbid diagnoses, anxiety symptoms, and SAD severity. Individuals with SAD may be less likely to engage in emotion regulating strategies due to negative beliefs regarding their effectiveness, thereby contributing to poorer quality of life.
PMCID: PMC4090049  PMID: 22343166
Social anxiety disorder; Social phobia; Emotion regulation; Generalized expectancies for mood; regulation
7.  D-cycloserine as an augmentation strategy of cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder 
The American journal of psychiatry  2013;170(7):751-758.
To test whether d-cycloserine, a partial agonist at the glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, augments and accelerates a full course of comprehensive cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in medication-free adults with generalized social anxiety disorder.
A randomized placebo-controlled efficacy-study conducted at Boston University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Southern Methodist University between 9/2007 and 12/2011 of 169 medication-free adults with generalized social anxiety disorder; 144 completed treatment, and 131 completed the follow-up assessments. Patients were randomized to receive 50 mg of d-cycloserine or placebo 1 hour before each of 5 exposure sessions that were part of a 12-session cognitive behavioral group treatment. Response and remission status was determined at baseline, throughout treatment, post-treatment, and at 1, 3, and 6-month follow-up assessments rated by assessors who were blind to treatment condition.
D-cycloserine-augmented and placebo-augmented CBT were associated with similar completion rates (87% and 82%), response rates (79.3% and 73.3%), and remission rates (34.5% and 24.4%) at post-treatment that were largely maintained at follow-up. Although d-cycloserine was associated with a 24–33% faster rate of improvement in symptom severity and remission rates relative to placebo during the 12-week treatment phase, the groups did not differ in response and remission rates.
D-cycloserine did not augment a full course of comprehensive CBT for social anxiety disorder.
PMCID: PMC4058999  PMID: 23599046
Cognitive behavioral therapy; d-cycloserine; N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor agonist; CBT; social anxiety disorder; social phobia; randomized controlled trial
8.  d-cycloserine Enhancement of Fear Extinction is Specific to Successful Exposure Sessions: Evidence from the Treatment of Height Phobia 
Biological psychiatry  2013;73(11):1054-1058.
Whereas some studies have shown clear evidence for an augmentation effect of d-cycloserine (DCS) on exposure therapy for anxiety disorders, other studies have shown weak effects or no effect at all. Some preclinical data suggest that the DCS augmentation effect is moderated by the success of the extinction trials. Therefore, we conducted a re-analysis of existing data to examine whether the effects of DCS on clinical outcome would vary as a function of response to the exposure session (i.e. exposure success).
In a clinical trial, patients with height phobia received two sessions involving 30 minutes of virtual reality exposure therapy and were randomly assigned to a pill placebo (N=14) or 50 mg of DCS (N=15) immediately after each session.
Mixed-effects regression analysis showed that the effects of DCS administration on clinical improvement was moderated by the level of fear experienced just prior to concluding exposure sessions. Patients receiving DCS exhibited significantly greater improvement in symptoms relative to patients who received placebo when subjective fear was low at the end of the exposure. In contrast, when end fear was still elevated, patients receiving DCS improved less compared to those receiving placebo.
DCS appears to enhance the benefits of exposure treatment when applied after a successful session, but it seems to have detrimental effects when administered after inadequate/unsuccessful exposures.
Trial Registry
The Trial is registered at (NCT01102803).
PMCID: PMC3636175  PMID: 23332511
CBT; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Exposure therapy; Fear extinction; d-cycloserine; Moderators; Acrophobia
9.  Disparate Rates of New-Onset Depression During the Menopausal Transition in 2 Community-based Populations: Real, or Really Wrong? 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;177(10):1148-1156.
This study took place in eastern Massachusetts and included respondents from the Harvard Study of Moods and Cycles Cohort 1, enrolled between 1995 and 1997, and the Harvard Study of Moods and Cycles Cohort 2, enrolled between 2005 and 2009. In prospectively assessing rates of new-onset depression in 2 populations of late-reproductive–aged women with no Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) lifetime history of depression, we were surprised to find far lower rates of depression in the population with greater racial diversity and lower socioeconomic status, contrary to what had been reported in the scientific literature. To better understand why these disparate results occurred, we assessed confounding and outcome misclassification as potential explanations for the discrepancy. After determining that these were unlikely explanations for the findings, we explored 2 potential sources of selection bias: one induced by self-referral of healthy participants into the study and the other induced by the design of the study itself. We concluded that both types of selection bias were likely to have occurred in this study and could account for the observed difference in rates.
PMCID: PMC3649637  PMID: 23589585
bias; depression; prospective studies
10.  Do Comorbid Anxiety Disorders Moderate the Effects of Psychotherapy for Bipolar Disorder? Results From STEP-BD 
The American journal of psychiatry  2014;171(2):178-186.
At least 50% of individuals with bipolar disorder have a lifetime anxiety disorder. Individuals with both bipolar disorder and a co-occurring anxiety disorder experience longer illness duration, greater illness severity, and poorer treatment response. The study explored whether comorbid lifetime anxiety in bipolar patients moderates psychotherapy treatment outcome.
In the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program randomized controlled trial of psychotherapy for bipolar depression, participants received up to 30 sessions of intensive psychotherapy (family-focused therapy, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy) or collaborative care, a three-session comparison treatment, plus pharmacotherapy. Using the number needed to treat, we computed effect sizes to analyze the relationship between lifetime anxiety disorders and rates of recovery across treatment groups after 1 year.
A total of 269 patients (113 women) with a comorbid lifetime anxiety disorder (N=177) or without a comorbid lifetime anxiety disorder (N=92) were included in the analysis. Participants with a lifetime anxiety disorder were more likely to recover with psychotherapy than with collaborative care (66% compared with 49% recovered over 1 year; number needed to treat=5.88, small to medium effect). For patients without a lifetime anxiety disorder, there was no difference between rates of recovery in psychotherapy compared with collaborative care (64% compared with 62% recovered; number needed to treat=50, small effect). Participants with one lifetime anxiety disorder were likely to benefit from intensive psychotherapy compared with collaborative care (84% compared with 53% recovered; number needed to treat=3.22, medium to large effect), whereas patients with multiple anxiety disorders exhibited no difference in response to the two treatments (54% compared with 46% recovered; number needed to treat=12.5, small effect).
Depressed patients with bipolar disorder and comorbid anxiety may be in particular need of additional psychotherapy for treating acute depression. These results need to be replicated in studies that stratify bipolar patients to treatments based on their anxiety comorbidity status.
PMCID: PMC3946300  PMID: 24077657
11.  Impulsivity as a moderator of the intention-behavior relationship for illicit drug use in patients undergoing treatment 
Addictive behaviors  2012;38(3):1651-1655.
Evident across clinical practice and clinical trials is a divergence between stated intentions and subsequent drug-related behaviors in substance abuse treatment settings. Impulsivity, itself related to drug abuse, may be one variable which may moderate the degree of disconnect in the intention-behavior relationship. The present study examines the relationship between self-stated desire to quit, impulsivity, and drug use in a group of outpatients receiving methadone maintenance treatment. In particular, we examined the direct and moderating influence of different facets of impulsivity (urgency, lack of premeditation, sensation seeking, and lack of perseverance) on drug use in the context of a stated desire to abstain from drugs.
84 opioid-dependent individuals undergoing counseling and methadone maintenance treatment completed a battery of self-report questionnaires including measures of impulsivity (UPPS Impulsivity Scale), stated desire to quit, and past 30-day drug use. We hypothesized that two facets of impulsivity, urgency and (lack of) premeditation, would moderate the relationship between desire to quit and past 30-day drug use, such that the relationship between intention and behavior would be weaker in those with high levels of these facets of impulsivity.
Consistent with the disconnect between intentions and drug-use behaviors typical of treatment settings, desire to quit was not directly associated with self-reported past month drug use. However, in separate regression analyses, 2 facets of impulsivity, premeditation and sensation seeking, moderated the relationship between desire to quit and past month use. Whereas there was not a significant relationship between desire to quit and drug use in individuals high in sensation-seeking or lack of premeditation, the relationship between intention and drug use behaviors was preserved in those low in these facets of impulsivity.
These findings indicate that the relationship between desire to quit and self-reported past-month drug use is weak for those high in sensation seeking or low in premeditation. These results are discussed in the context of current interventions for substance dependence.
PMCID: PMC3558639  PMID: 23254213
12.  Augmentation of exposure therapy with post-session administration of d-cycloserine 
Journal of psychiatric research  2012;47(2):168-174.
Pre-session administration of d-cycloserine (DCS) has been found to augment exposure therapy outcomes in a variety of anxiety disorders. To be able to enhance learning only for successful exposure sessions, it would be beneficial to have the option of administering DCS after rather than before the session, a strategy encouraged by pre-clinical work. We believe the present study is the first published report on the efficacy of post-session administration of DCS in humans.
Adults (N = 29) with a DSM-IV diagnosis of acrophobia were randomized to receive two sessions of virtual reality exposure therapy (VRE) in combination with placebo or 50 mg of DCS. Instead of administering the pill prior to each of the sessions, as has been done in extant work, we administered the pill immediately following each session. Measures of acrophobia severity were collected at baseline, at each treatment session, 1-week post-treatment, and at 1-month follow-up.
Mixed-effects repeated-measures ANOVAs and GLMMs revealed significant improvement in all outcome measures over time, but no between-group differences were observed. At post-treatment, 63.5% of patients in the placebo condition vs. 60.0% of those in the DCS condition were in remission. At 1-month follow up, 63.4% of those in the placebo condition vs. 66.6% of those in the DCS condition were in remission.
These findings do not support the application of post-session DCS administration for augmenting the efficacy of exposure-based treatments. Possible reasons for these findings are discussed. Trial Registry: The Trial is registered at (NCT01102803).
PMCID: PMC3732105  PMID: 23098672
Augmentation; CBT; Cognitive behavioral therapy; d-cycloserine; Exposure treatment; Randomized controlled trial; Acrophobia
13.  Predictors of Dropout from Psychosocial Treatment in Opioid-Dependent Outpatients 
Background and Objectives
Early dropout is common in substance abuse treatment settings and may lead to poorer outcomes relative to those completing a full course of treatment. Attempts to identify predictors of dropout have yielded mixed results, highlighting the need for additional research in this area to clarify risk and protective factors to guide intervention and retention efforts. This study evaluated predictors of dropout from psychosocial treatment among opioid-dependent patients on methadone maintenance therapy.
Participants included 78 patients who had failed to respond to at least 4 months of methadone maintenance plus group counseling with clinic substance abuse counselors, and were enrolled in a study of randomized psychosocial treatment in addition to treatment-as-usual. Several factors that have been implicated in previous studies as well as two affective variables (distress intolerance and coping motives for drug use) were examined.
Results indicated that when controlling for various risk factors, age was the only significant predictor of dropout, with younger patients more likely to discontinue treatment early.
This study replicates previous findings in opioid-dependent samples that younger patients are at an increased risk of early treatment dropout.
Conclusions and Significance
Targeted intervention may be needed to retain young patients in drug abuse treatment.
PMCID: PMC3651588  PMID: 23398222
14.  Cognitive Therapy Alone and in Combination with Antidepressants for Anxious Depression: A STAR*D Report 
Journal of affective disorders  2012;142(1-3):213-218.
Anxious depression, defined as MDD with high levels of anxiety, has been associated with lower rates of antidepressant response and remission as well as greater chronicity, suicidality and antidepressant side-effect burden. The primary aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of cognitive therapy (CT) alone or in combination with medications for anxious versus non-anxious depression.
We assessed the STAR*D study participants who were partial or non-responders to citalopram. Subjects were then either switched (n = 696) to a new antidepressant or to CT alone, or they were kept on citalopram and augmented (n = 577) with another antidepressant or CT. We compared response and remission rates of those who met criteria for anxious depression to those who did not across treatment conditions.
Those with anxious depression had significantly lower remission rates based on the QIDS, whether assigned to switch or augmentation, compared to those with non-anxious depression. Those with anxious depression, compared to those without, had significantly lower response rates based on the QIDS only in the switch group. There was no significant interaction between anxious depression and treatment assignment.
Limitations include the use of citalopram as the only Level 1 pharmacotherapy and medication augmentation option, depression-focused CT rather than anxiety-focused CT, and focus on acute treatment outcomes.
Individuals with anxious depression appear to experience higher risk of poorer outcome following pharmacotherapy and/or CT after an initial course of SSRI, and continued efforts to target this challenging form of depression are needed.
PMCID: PMC3483355  PMID: 22877961
anxious depression; MDD; CT; psychosocial interventions; STAR*D
15.  Rates of mood and anxiety disorders and contributors to continued heroin use in methadone maintenance patients: A comparison by HIV status 
Neurobehavioral HIV medicine  2010;2010(2):49-57.
The frequency of mood and anxiety disorders is elevated among individuals with a history of intravenous drug abuse and among those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and these disorders are associated with continued substance use despite treatment. The present study examined rates of mood and anxiety disorders, and recent heroin use, among HIV-infected and HIV-noninfected patients receiving methadone maintenance therapy. Participants were 160 (80 HIV-infected, 80 HIV-noninfected) methadone patients. Clinician-administered, semistructured interviews were used to identify unipolar and bipolar depression, and four major anxiety disorders (panic disorder with agoraphobia [PDA], generalized anxiety disorder [GAD], post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], and social anxiety disorder [SAD]). Toxicology screens and self-reporting were used to assess heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol use over the past month. The entire sample met criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder other than substance dependence. Substantial proportions of participants met criteria for major depressive disorder (55.6%), bipolar I, bipolar II, or cyclothymia (6.4%), PDA (34.4%), GAD (22.5%), SAD (16.9%), and PTSD (34.4%). A greater proportion of HIV-infected participants met criteria for SAD (χ2 = 5.03), and a greater proportion of HIV-noninfected participants met criteria for GAD (χ2 = 5.39, P < 0.01). About 14% of participants continued to use heroin over the past month, a significantly greater proportion of whom were HIV-infected. In adjusted analyses, none of the mood or anxiety disorders emerged as significant predictors of recent heroin use, but being HIV-infected did. This study highlights the high rate of psychopathology and continued heroin use despite substance abuse treatment, and underscores the need for interventions that help mitigate these problems among methadone patients.
PMCID: PMC3779458  PMID: 24062619
psychopathology; substance dependence; human immunodeficiency virus; methadone
16.  Refining the Measurement of Distress Intolerance 
Behavior therapy  2011;43(3):641-651.
Distress intolerance is an important transdiagnostic variable that has long been implicated in the development and maintenance of psychological disorders. Self-report measurement strategies for distress intolerance have emerged from several different models of psychopathology and these measures have been applied inconsistently in the literature in the absence of a clear gold standard. The absence of a consistent assessment strategy has limited the ability to compare across studies and samples, thus hampering the advancement of this research agenda. This study evaluated the latent factor structure of existing measures of DI to examine the degree to which they are capturing the same construct. Results of confirmatory factor analysis in 3 samples totaling 400 participants provided support for a single factor latent structure. Individual items of these four scales were then correlated with this factor to identify those that best capture the core construct. Results provided consistent supported for 10 items that demonstrated the strongest concordance with this factor. The use of these 10 items as a unifying measure in the study of DI and future directions for the evaluation of its utility are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3483633  PMID: 22697451
distress tolerance; distress intolerance; anxiety sensitivity; discomfort intolerance; assessment
17.  Extreme Attributions Predict the Course of Bipolar Depression: Results from the STEP-BD Randomized Controlled Trial of Psychosocial Treatment 
Little is known about predictors of recovery from bipolar depression or moderators of treatment response. In the present study we investigated attributional style (a cognitive pattern of explaining the causes of life events) as a predictor of recovery from episodes of bipolar depression and as a moderator of response to psychotherapy for bipolar depression.
106 depressed outpatients with DSM-IV bipolar I or II disorder enrolled in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD) were randomized to intensive psychotherapy for depression (n=62), or collaborative care (n=44), a minimal psychoeducational intervention. The primary outcome was recovery status at each study visit as measured by the Clinical Monitoring Form. Attributional style was measured at baseline using the Attributional Style Questionnaire. Data were collected between 1998 and 2005.
All analyses were by intention to treat. Extreme attributions predicted a lower likelihood of recovery (p=.01, OR=0.93, 95% CI=.88-.98) and longer time until recovery (p<.01, OR=0.96, 95% CI=.93-.99), independent of the effects of initial depression severity. Among individuals with more pessimistic attributional styles, initial depression severity predicted a lower likelihood of recovery (p=.01, OR=0.64, 95% CI=.45-.91) and longer time until recovery (p<.001, OR=0.76, 95% CI=.66-.88). There was no difference in recovery rates between intensive psychotherapy and collaborative care (OR=0.90, 95% CI=0.40-2.01) in the full sample.
These results suggest that extreme, rigid attributions may be associated with a more severe course of depression, and that evaluating attributional style may help clinicians to identify patients who are at risk for experiencing a more severe course of depression.
PMCID: PMC3646511  PMID: 23561230
18.  Sexual HIV Risk Behaviors in a Treatment-Refractory Opioid-Dependent Sample 
Journal of psychoactive drugs  2012;44(3):237-242.
The propensity to engage in risk behaviors confers an elevated risk of HIV and other infectious disease transmission in opioid-dependent populations. Although drug abuse treatment may decrease drug-related risk behaviors such as needle-sharing, additional intervention may be needed to reduce HIV risk behavior. In this investigation, we assessed sexual HIV risk behaviors in opioid-dependent patients who were engaging in regular drug use despite ongoing counseling and methadone maintenance therapy. Potential risk and protective factors for engaging in sexual HIV risk behavior were examined. Taking into account demographic, psychiatric, substance use, and psychological variables, the only significant predictor of risk behavior was age. Specifically, younger patients were more likely to engage in sexual HIV risk behavior. The implications of these results for reducing sexual HIV risk behavior and for HIV prevention in methadone-maintained, treatment-refractory opioid-dependent patients are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3755954  PMID: 23061323
age; HIV; methadone; opioids; risk behaviors; substance dependence
19.  Shared Variance among Self-Report and Behavioral Measures of Distress Intolerance 
Cognitive therapy and research  2011;35(3):266-275.
Distress intolerance may be an important individual difference variable in understanding maladaptive coping responses across diagnostic categories. However, the measurement of distress intolerance remains inconsistent across studies and little evidence for convergent validity among existing measures is available. This study evaluated the overlap among self-report and behavioral measures of distress intolerance in four samples, including an unselected sample, a sample of patients with drug dependence, and two samples of cigarette smokers. Results suggested that the self-report measures were highly correlated, as were the behavioral measures; however, behavioral and self-report measures did not exhibit significant associations with each other. There was some evidence of domain specificity, with anxiety sensitivity demonstrating strong associations with somatic distress intolerance, and a lack of association between behavioral measures that elicit affective distress and those that elicit somatic distress. These findings highlight a potential divergence in the literature relative to the conceptualization of distress intolerance as either sensitivity to distress or as the inability to persist at a task when distressed. Further research is needed to elucidate the conceptualization and measurement of distress intolerance to facilitate future clinical and research applications of this construct.
PMCID: PMC3721199  PMID: 23894216
Distress Intolerance; Measurement; Task Persistence; Anxiety Sensitivity
20.  Modifying Exposure-Based CBT for Cambodian Refugees with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 
Cognitive and behavioral practice  2006;13(4):261-270.
Cambodian refugees represent a severely traumatized population living in the United States. In this paper, we describe the modification of a cognitive-behavior therapy program to facilitate delivery of an exposure-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder while addressing some of the challenges brought by differences in language and culture between providers and patients. Our treatment modifications include the use of metaphors and culturally relevant examples to aid the communication of core concepts by interpreters, an emphasis on teaching the “process” of exposure therapy rather than relying on specific exposure practice in the group setting, a focus on interoceptive exposure to allow more effective group practice and to address culturally specific symptom interpretations, attention to the way in which treatment procedures interacted with culturally specific beliefs, and efforts to integrate treatment services within the community. Although data are limited, results to date suggest that this modified treatment was acceptable to patients and offered benefits on the order of large effect sizes.
PMCID: PMC2804994  PMID: 20072706
21.  Once-Weekly D-Cycloserine Effects on Negative Symptoms and Cognition in Schizophrenia: An Exploratory Study 
Schizophrenia research  2008;106(2-3):320-327.
Daily dosing with D-cycloserine has inconsistently improved negative symptoms in schizophrenia patients, whereas intermittent dosing significantly facilitated exposure-based therapy in two studies of patients with phobic anxiety. In animal models, single dose administration enhances memory consolidation, but tachyphylaxis develops with repeated dosing. The objective of this exploratory study was to assess whether once-weekly dosing with D-cycloserine will produce persistent improvements in negative symptoms and cognition.
Fifty stable adult schizophrenia outpatients treated with any antipsychotic except clozapine were enrolled and 38 were randomized, double-blind, in a parallel-group, 8-week add-on trial of D-cycloserine 50 mg or placebo administered once-weekly. Symptom rating scales and a cognitive battery were administered at baseline and week 8 before the dose of study drug. As an exploratory analysis of memory consolidation, the Logical Memory Test, modified to measure recall after 7 days, was administered at baseline and after the first weekly dose of D-cycloserine. The primary outcome measures were change from baseline to week 8 on the SANS total score and on a composite cognitive score.
Thirty-three subjects (87%) completed the trial. D-cycloserine significantly improved SANS total scores compared to placebo at week 8. Cognitive performance did not improve with D-cycloserine at 8 weeks. Delayed thematic recall on the Logical Memory Test was significantly improved with the first dose of D-cycloserine compared to placebo. Performance on immediate thematic recall and item recall on the Logical Memory Test did not differ between treatments.
Once-weekly dosing with D-cycloserine for 8 weeks produced persistent improvement of negative symptoms compared to placebo, although statistical significance was, in part, the result of worsening of negative symptoms with placebo. Consistent with animal models, a single dose of D-cycloserine facilitated memory consolidation tested after 7 days on a test of thematic recall. These results must be considered preliminary since a number of outcomes were examined without correction for multiple tests. These findings suggest that once-weekly dosing with D-cycloserine for the treatment of negative symptoms merits further study, as do D-cycloserine effects on memory consolidation.
PMCID: PMC2628436  PMID: 18799288
22.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adherence and Depression (CBT-AD) in HIV-infected Injection Drug Users: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
Depression and substance use, the most common comorbidities with HIV, are both associated with poor treatment adherence. Injection drug users comprise a substantial portion of individuals with HIV in the U.S. and globally. The present study tested cognitive-behavioral therapy for adherence and depression (CBT-AD) in patients with HIV and depression in active substance abuse treatment for injection drug use.
This is a two-arm, randomized controlled trial (N = 89) comparing CBT-AD to enhanced treatment as usual (ETAU). Analyses were conducted for two time-frames: 1) baseline to post-treatment 2) post-treatment to follow-up at 3- and 6-months after intervention discontinuation.
At post-treatment, the CBT-AD condition showed significantly greater improvement than ETAU in MEMS (electronic pill cap) based adherence (γslope = 0.8873, t (86) = 2.38, p = .02; dGMA-raw = .64), and depression, assessed by blinded assessor [Mongomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (F(1,79) = 6.52, p<.01); d = .55)] and clinical global impression [(F(1,79) = 14.77, p<.001; d = .85)]. After treatment discontinuation, depression gains were maintained, though adherence gains were not. Viral load did not differ across condition, however, the CBT-AD condition had significant improvements in CD4 cell counts over time compared to ETAU (γslope= 2.09, t (76) = 2.20, p = .03; dGMA-raw = .60).
In patients managing multiple challenges including HIV, depression, substance dependence, and adherence, CBT-AD is a useful way to integrate treatment of depression with an adherence intervention. Continued adherence counseling is likely needed, however, to maintain or augment adherence gains in this population.
PMCID: PMC3365619  PMID: 22545737
HIV; AIDS; Antiretroviral therapy; ART; depression; randomized controlled trial; adherence; substance abuse
23.  Exploring exercise as an avenue for the treatment of anxiety disorders 
Expert review of neurotherapeutics  2012;12(8):1011-1022.
Anxiety disorders constitute a significant public health problem. Current gold standard treatments are limited in their effectiveness, prompting the consideration of alternative approaches. In this review, we examine the evidence for exercise as an intervention for anxiety disorders. This evidence comes from population studies, studies of nonclinical anxiety reduction, as well as a limited number of studies of clinically anxious individuals. All of these studies provide converging evidence for consistent beneficial effects of exercise on anxiety, and are consistent with a variety of accounts of the mechanism of anxiety reduction with exercise. Further study of clinical populations is encouraged, as are studies of the mechanism of change of exercise interventions, which have the potential to help refine exercise intervention strategies. Likewise, studies that identify moderators of treatment efficacy will assist clinicians in deciding how and for whom to prescribe exercise.
PMCID: PMC3501262  PMID: 23002943
anxiety; anxiety disorders; exercise; intervention; physical activity; treatment
24.  Prediction of “Fear” Acquisition in Healthy Control Participants in a De Novo Fear-Conditioning Paradigm 
Behavior modification  2007;31(1):32-51.
Studies using fear-conditioning paradigms have found that anxiety patients are more conditionable than individuals without these disorders, but these effects have been demonstrated inconsistently. It is unclear whether these findings have etiological significance, or whether enhanced conditionability is linked only to certain anxiety characteristics. To further examine these issues, we assessed the predictive significance of relevant subsyndromal characteristics in 72 healthy adults, including measures of worry, avoidance, anxious mood, depressed mood, and fears of anxiety symptoms (anxiety sensitivity), as well as the dimensions of neuroticism and extraversion. Of these variables, we found that the combination of higher levels of subsyndromal worry and lower levels of behavioral avoidance predicted heightened conditionability, raising questions about the etiological significance of these variables in the acquisition or maintenance of anxiety disorders. In contrast, we found that anxiety sensitivity was more linked to individual differences in orienting response than differences in conditioning per se.
PMCID: PMC1764631  PMID: 17179530
Fear conditioning; etiology; worry; avoidance; anxiety sensitivity; psychophysiology
25.  Intensive Psychosocial Intervention Enhances Functioning in Patients With Bipolar Depression: Results From a 9-Month Randomized Controlled Trial 
The American journal of psychiatry  2007;164(9):1340-1347.
Psychosocial interventions are effective adjuncts to pharmacotherapy in delaying recurrences of bipolar disorder; however, to date their effects on life functioning have been given little attention. In a randomized trial, the authors examined the impact of intensive psychosocial treatment plus pharmacotherapy on the functional outcomes of patients with bipolar disorder over the 9 months following a depressive episode.
Participants were 152 depressed outpatients with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder in the multisite Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD) study. All patients received pharmacotherapy. Eighty-four patients were randomly assigned to intensive psychosocial intervention (30 sessions over 9 months of interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, cognitive behavior therapy [CBT], or family-focused therapy), and 68 patients were randomly assigned to collaborative care (a 3-session psychoeducational treatment). Independent evaluators rated the four subscales of the Longitudinal Interval Follow-Up Evaluation–Range of Impaired Functioning Tool (LIFE-RIFT) (relationships, satisfaction with activities, work/role functioning, and recreational activities) through structured interviews given at baseline and every 3 months over a 9-month period.
Patients in intensive psychotherapy had better total functioning, relationship functioning, and life satisfaction scores over 9 months than patients in collaborative care, even after pretreatment functioning and concurrent depression scores were covaried. No effects of psychosocial intervention were observed on work/role functioning or recreation scores during this 9-month period.
Intensive psychosocial treatment enhances relationship functioning and life satisfaction among patients with bipolar disorder. Alternate interventions focused on the specific cognitive deficits of individuals with bipolar disorder may be necessary to enhance vocational functioning after a depressive episode.
PMCID: PMC3579578  PMID: 17728418

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