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The utility of a brief large group psychoeducational program for patients waiting for cognitive-beha

Hongru Ren

University of Manitoba

Background: Anxiety disorders are common. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment. Wait times for publicly-funded treatment are often lengthy, but stepped care models are a potential solution. A brief large group, psychoeducational program ("QuickStart") was developed as a first step invention in a tertiary care facility. Objective: This study evaluates the utility of QuickStart. Hypotheses: (1) Patients and support persons would find QuickStart helpful, (2) patients would use coping strategies taught, (3) symptoms at QuickStart would be positively related to coping strategies used, (4) more coping strategies used would predict symptom relief, and (5) compared to a Care as Usual (CAU) cohort, QuickStart patients would use more coping strategies, experience greater symptom relief, and be more interested in treatment. Methods: QuickStart consists of two 2-hour sessions led by a clinical psychologist. Content includes information about anxiety disorders and CBT self-management strategies. A client satisfaction survey and a measure of symptom severity were administered at the intervention and again several months later at individual Intake assessments. Results: Patients who attended QuickStart found it “somewhat” helpful and, at follow up, reported using some coping strategies. More severe symptoms at QuickStart and Intake were associated with using more coping strategies, but strategy use did not predict symptom relief. Compared to CAU patients, QuickStart patients attempted a greater number of coping strategies, but had similarly severe symptoms and were equally interested in treatment. Conclusions: These findings suggest that QuickStart may be useful and acceptable for helping patients cope while on the wait list.

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