175642 Treatment Choice Study Regarding Anxiety: Consumer Factors and Explanatory Influences

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Noah J. Baker, BA , Clinical Psychology, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Bryan N. Cochran, PhD , Dept. of Psychology, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Evidence suggests that aligning effective mental health treatments with the consumer's preferred treatment increases the probability of improvement (Lin et al. 2004). However, there is a lack of research regarding patient preferences when deciding on treatment for mental health issues (Spring, 2007). This is particularly the case when examining mindfulness-based treatment, an increasingly popular option for treating psychological distress that shows evidence of efficacy (Teasdale et al. 2000, Williams et al. 2000). The current research study involves two main goals. The first is to determine whether explaining symptoms of anxiety as physical, opposed to psychological in nature, will influence one's willingness to accept three different hypothetical treatment options (SSRIs, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness-based therapy). The second goal is to evaluate the association between one's preference for the various treatment methods and one's psychological characteristics. Undergraduate college students are asked, via video simulation of a client-therapist interaction, to imagine that they have been experiencing numerous anxiety-related symptoms and are hypothetically seeking treatment. Preliminary results (n=61 currently, target n=300) suggest that individuals are more willing to opt to receive treatment, regardless of treatment type, when the problem of anxiety is given a physical, rather than a psychological, explanation. The results also suggest that people who score higher on a measure of openness to experience are significantly more willing to adopt mindfulness-based therapy (r=0.38; p<.01). This study has implications for health communication between clinicians and patients, and can aid clinicians in determining which patient characteristics to assess before making a treatment decision.

Learning Objectives:
1. a) Gain a better understanding of the relationship between a consumer's treatment choice and the perceived nature of a problem (i.e. psychological vs. physical); and b) identify consumer characteristics related to treatment choice. 2. Identify influencing factors on willingness to adopt three different treatments for anxiety. 3. Describe the importance of communication between therapists and consumers when deciding on the best course of treatment for anxiety.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The abstract I authored is part of my Master's work at the University of Montana. I have no financial stake in the outcomes of this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.