Behavior therapy and the anxiety disorders: some conceptual and methodological issues.

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Some of the methodological and conceptual issues relevant to behavior therapy treatment outcome studies for anxiety disorders are presented. The practice among behavioral researchers of measuring anxiety from 3 response systems (verbal, physiological and motoric-behavioral) is discussed. It is emphasized that many of the popular methods used to assess the 3 response systems have unknown or poor reliability or validity. From the point of view of treatment variables, it is noted that many behavioral treatment procedures are not reported in sufficient detail to allow replication or comparisons to be made across studies. In addition, it is argued that in order to improve the existing treatment procedures, it will be necessary for each study to assess the subjects' adherence to the treatment regimen, as well as their proficiency with any skills required to carry out the treatment plan. Finally, the importance of 'placebo' control groups is discussed in the context of identifying the specific factors in behavioral treatments which are responsible for change in the targeted symptoms. It is concluded that behavior therapy holds promise as an effective treatment for the anxiety disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-81
Number of pages17
JournalPsychiatric Developments
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1985


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