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Comparing The Effectiveness Of Individual And Group Therapy For Students With Symptoms Of Anxiety And Depression: A Randomized Pilot Study

Emily J. Fawcett, Michele Neary, R. Ginsburg, Peter A Cornish
Published 2019 · Medicine

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Abstract Objective: To examine the effectiveness of individual versus group therapy for anxiety and depression among university students. Participants: Forty-one university students experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and/or depression participated during one of three academic semesters from 2015 to 2016. Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to either 6-weeks of individual or group therapy and completed outcome measures at pre-and-post-treatment. Results: Significant reductions in both depression and anxiety scores were found across time, with no significant difference between group and individual therapy outcomes. Exploratory analysis of attitudes toward therapy found that while individual therapy was rated more favorably than group therapy overall, attitudes toward therapy became more favorable from pre to post-treatment for all participants. An interaction showed differences in attitudes toward individual and group therapy according to participants’ randomly assigned treatment. Conclusions: These findings support the increased usage of group therapy within university counseling centers, with implications for stepped care discussed.
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