Social anxiety and agoraphobia symptoms effectively treated by Prompt Mental Health Care versus TAU at 6‐ and 12‐month follow‐up: Secondary analysis from a randomized controlled trial
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonDepression and Anxiety. 2021, 38(3), 351-360 10.1002/da.23132
Background Prompt Mental Health Care (PMHC, Norwegian adaption of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) has shown effects on symptoms of anxiety and depression compared to treatment as usual (TAU). In this secondary analysis, we examine the effectiveness of PMHC among clients presenting with symptoms of social anxiety disorder (SAD) and/or agoraphobia on core symptoms at 6- and 12-month follow-up. Methods Randomized controlled trial in two PMHC sites (70:30 ratio PMHC:TAU). Of participants, 61.3% (n = 472) scored at caseness for SAD and 47.7% (n = 367) for agoraphobia (40% both). Effects on SAD avoidance and physiological discomfort (SPIN-9), SAD cognitions (ATQ-SA), agoraphobic avoidance (MIA-8), and agoraphobic cognitions (ATQ-AP) were examined in piecewise growth models. Results The PMHC group showed substantially greater symptom reduction than the TAU group for all outcomes: At 6-month follow-up, the between-group effect sizes were d −0.60 (95% CI: −0.94 to −0.26) for SPIN-9, −0.45 (95% CI: −0.70 to −0.20) for ATQ-SA, −0.50 (95% CI: −0.87 to −0.13) for MIA-8, and −0.61 (95% CI: −0.92 to −0.31) for ATQ-AP. All effects were sustained at similar level at a 12-month follow-up. Conclusion PMHC effectively alleviated SAD and agoraphobia symptoms, and individuals struggling with such symptoms constituted a large proportion of clients. Although results should be interpreted with caution due to risk of attrition bias, they lend further support for a scale-up of PMHC and similar initiatives. Individuals struggling with SAD and/or agoraphobia stood out as relatively high burdened, whereas only one of five had sought help the last 12 months, underscoring the need for the PMHC service.