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Cognitive and Behavioral Practice


Elsevier Ltd

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Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common and debilitating condition. Effective treatments exist, but they are time-and resource-intensive. This study tested the initial efficacy and acceptability of a novel treatment protocol designed to increase efficiency: acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) taught in groups and through an adjunctive mobile app. Participants were 21 individuals with GAD who received six weeks of 2-hour group ACT sessions as well as access to an adjunctive ACT mobile app. Significant improvements occurred in worry, anxiety, social functioning, and depression as well as relevant processes (psychological inflexibility, anxiety-related cognitive fusion). In-the-moment improvements were also observed in symptoms and ACT processes immediately after completing mobile app sessions. Treatment was perceived as credible and acceptable overall. However, rates of reliable and clinically significant change were low, and app usage did not correlate with change in worry. Overall, this study suggests that an efficient, brief ACT group intervention combined with a mobile app may lead to improvements in GAD but may not be sufficient for clinically significant change. A detailed overview of the treatment is included, and guidance for clinicians interested in implementing this protocol is discussed.

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