Therapy provided over the phone lowered symptoms of anxiety and depression among older adults in rural areas with a lack of mental health services, a study shows.
The study, by researchers at Wake Forest University, examined 141 people over the age of 60 living in rural counties in North Carolina who were experiencing excessive and uncontrollable worry that is brought on by a condition called generalized anxiety disorder.
The participants had up to 11 phone sessions between January 2011 and October, 2013. Half of them received cognitive behavioral therapy, which focused on the recognition of anxiety symptoms, relaxation techniques, problem solving and other coping techniques. The other study participants got a less intensive phone therapy in which mental health professionals provided support for participants to discuss their feelings but offered no suggestions for coping.
The researchers found that severity of the patients’ worries declined in both groups, but the patients getting cognitive therapy had a significantly higher reduction of symptoms from generalized anxiety disorder and depressive symptoms.
Population of focus: Rural older adults with generalized anxiety disorder
Links to resource:
- Abstract of study — Telephone-Delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Telephone-Delivered Nondirective Supportive Therapy for Rural Older Adults With Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial
- News article on the Kaiser Health News website
Journal: JAMA Psychiatry