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26-05-2020 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2020 Open Access

Cognitive Therapy and Research 5/2020

Personalized Psychotherapy for Outpatients with Major Depression and Anxiety Disorders: Transdiagnostic Versus Diagnosis-Specific Group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 5/2020
Anita Eskildsen, Nina Reinholt, Suzanne van Bronswijk, René B. K. Brund, Anne B. Christensen, Morten Hvenegaard, Mikkel Arendt, Anja Alrø, Stig Poulsen, Nicole K. Rosenberg, Marcus J. H. Huibers, Sidse Arnfred
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10608-020-10116-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Nina Reinholt, Suzanne van Bronswijk, René B. K. Brund have equally contributed.

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Only about half of all patients with anxiety disorders or major depression respond to cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), even though this is an evidence-based treatment. Personalized treatment offers an approach to increase the number of patients who respond to therapy. The aim of this study was to examine predictors and moderators of (differential) treatment outcomes in transdiagnostic versus diagnosis-specific group CBT.


A sample of 291 patients from three different mental health clinics in Denmark was randomized to either transdiagnostic or diagnosis-specific group CBT. The study outcome was the regression slope of the individual patient's repeated scores on the WHO-5 Well-being Index. Pre-treatment variables were identified as moderators or predictors through a two-step variable selection approach.


While the two-step approach failed to identify any moderators, four predictors were found: level of positive affect, duration of disorder, the detachment personality trait, and the coping strategy of cognitive reappraisal. A prognostic index was constructed, but did not seem to be robust across treatment sites.


Our findings give insufficient evidence to support a recommendation of either transdiagnostic or diagnosis-specific CBT for a given patient or to predict the response to the applied group therapies.

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