Brief, Modular, Transdiagnostic, Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention for Anxiety in Veteran Primary Care: Development, Provider Feedback, and Open Trial

Robyn L. Shepardson, Jennifer S. Funderburk, Risa B. Weisberg, Stephen A. Maisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Anxiety is undertreated in primary care, and most treatment provided is pharmacological rather than behavioral. Integrating behavioral health providers (BHPs) using the Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) model can help address this treatment gap, but brief interventions suitable for use in PCBH practice are needed. We developed a modular, cognitive-behavioral anxiety intervention, Modular Anxiety Skills Training (MAST), that is evidence-based, transdiagnostic, feasible for PCBH, and patient-centered. MAST comprises up to six 30-min sessions emphasizing skills training. This article describes the rationale for and development of MAST as well as pilot work in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) to tailor and refine MAST for delivery to Veterans in VA primary care (MAST-V) to improve feasibility for VA BHPs and acceptability to Veterans. We used a convergent mixed-methods design with concurrent data collection. In phase one, we interviewed five BHPs to obtain feedback on the treatment manual. BHPs assessed MAST-V to be highly compatible with PCBH and provided suggestions to enhance feasibility. In phase two, we conducted an open trial in which six Veterans experiencing clinically significant anxiety received and provided feedback on all nine possible modules; we also assessed changes in mental health symptoms and functioning as well as treatment satisfaction and credibility. Veterans found MAST-V to be highly acceptable, and pre–post clinical outcomes were very promising with large effect sizes. Findings from this initial pilot provide preliminary support for the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of MAST-V and suggest further research with a randomized clinical trial is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)622-635
Number of pages14
JournalPsychological Services
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 31 2022

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • intervention
  • primary care
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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