A randomized preference trial of cognitive-behavioral therapy and yoga for the treatment of worry in anxious older adults

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Background: Worry is a common problem among older adults. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most studied nonpharmacological intervention and it has demonstrated efficacy in reducing late-life worry and anxiety. Although the evidence-base is smaller, yoga has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress. However, little is known about the relative effectiveness of these two nonpharmacological interventions. Further, the impact of patient preference on outcomes is unknown. Purpose: The purpose to this study is to compare the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with yoga for improving late-life worry, anxiety, and sleep. We will also examine the effects of preference and selection on outcomes, adherence, and attrition. Methods: We are conducting a two-stage randomized preference trial comparing CBT and yoga for the reduction of worry in a sample of anxious older adults. Five hundred participants will be randomized to either the preference trial (participants choose the intervention; N = 250) or to the randomized trial (participants are randomized to one of the two interventions; N = 250) with equal probability. CBT consists of 10 telephone-based sessions with an accompanying workbook. Yoga consists of 10 weeks of group yoga classes (twice a week) that is modified for use with older adults. Conclusions: The study design is based on feedback from anxious older adults who wanted more nonpharmacological options for intervention as well as more input into the intervention they receive. It is the first head-to-head comparison of CBT and yoga for reducing late-life worry and anxiety. It will also provide information about how intervention preference affects outcomes. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02968238.




Brenes, G. A., Divers, J., Miller, M. E., & Danhauer, S. C. (2018). A randomized preference trial of cognitive-behavioral therapy and yoga for the treatment of worry in anxious older adults. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 10, 169–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conctc.2018.05.002

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