Short-term intensive psychodynamic group therapy versus cognitive-behavioral group therapy in day treatment of anxiety disorders and comorbid depressive or personality disorders: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
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Abstract Background Psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral group therapies are frequently applied in day hospitals for the treatment of anxiety disorders and comorbid depressive or personality disorders in Poland and other Eastern European countries. Yet there is not enough evidence as to their effectiveness in this environment; this study addresses this gap. The aim of the study is to determine the effectiveness of these two kinds of day treatment care consisting of intensive, short-term group psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral therapy, for patients with anxiety disorders and/or comorbid depressive or personality disorders. Our objectives are to: 1) show the effectiveness of each treatment in a day-care setting relative to the wait-list control group; 2) demonstrate the relative short- and long-term effectiveness of the two active treatments; 3) carry out a preliminary examination of the predictors and moderators of treatment response; 4) carry out a preliminary examination of the mediators of therapeutic change; and 5) compare the impact of both methods of treatment on the outcome of the measures used in this study. Methods/Design In this randomized controlled trial, a total of 199 patients with anxiety disorders and comorbid depressive and/or personality disorders will be assigned to one of three conditions: 1) psychodynamic group therapy; 2) cognitive-behavioral group therapy; or 3) wait-list control group. The therapy will last 12 weeks. Both treatments will be manualized (the manuals will address comorbidity). Primary outcome measures will include self-reported symptoms of anxiety, observer-rated symptoms of anxiety, global improvement, and recovery rate. Secondary outcome measures will include the number of pathological personality traits, depression, self-esteem, defense mechanisms, beliefs about self and others, interpersonal problems, object relations, parental bonding, meta-cognition, and quality of life. Measures will be taken at baseline, post-treatment, and at six months following the end of therapy. Discussion The rationale is to investigate how effectively anxiety disorders and/or comorbid depressive or personality disorders can be treated in a day hospital setting, typical of the Polish health care system, during a three-month treatment period. Trial registration Clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02126787 , registered on 28 April 2014.