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Anxiety interventions delivered in primary care behavioral health routine clinical practice.

Shepardson RL, Minnick MR, Funderburk JS. Anxiety interventions delivered in primary care behavioral health routine clinical practice. Families, systems & health : the journal of collaborative family healthcare. 2020 Jun 1; 38(2):193-199.

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INTRODUCTION: Although anxiety is highly prevalent in primary care and a top reason for referral to primary care behavioral health (PCBH) services, there are limited data on which anxiety interventions are used in routine PCBH practice. The objective of this study was to identify interventions delivered when treating anxiety in PCBH practice. METHOD: We conducted an online survey of PCBH providers regarding their clinical practice with patients who present for treatment of anxiety symptoms. The final sample comprised 209 PCBH providers recruited from e-mail listservs of national professional organizations (59.3% psychologists, 23.4% social workers, 12.4% counselors, 4.8% other). Providers reported on use (yes/no) of 17 interventions in their most recent session with their most recent adult patient presenting with a primary concern of non-trauma-related anxiety. RESULTS: On average, patients were reported to be 42.2 (14.73) years old, White (73.7%), and male (56.5%) with anxiety symptoms of moderate severity (65.6%). Most reportedly had comorbid sleep difficulties (63.6%), depressive symptoms (58.4%), and/or stress/adjustment (56.0%). Providers reported delivering an average of 5.77 (2.05, range: 1-15) interventions, with psychoeducation (94.7%), relaxation training (64.1%), and supportive therapy (60.8%) being most common. Several highly efficacious evidence-based interventions for anxiety, including cognitive therapy (45.0%) and exposure (21.1%), were less common. DISCUSSION: While PCBH providers delivered numerous brief interventions for anxiety, cognitive therapy and exposure were underutilized. Furthermore, PCBH patients with anxiety symptoms were complex, with significant severity and comorbidity. These results suggest implications for research, clinical training, intervention design, and future implementation efforts. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

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