Mechanisms of Change in MCT vs CBT for Anxiety Disorders

Treatment outcome in psychological therapy is often based on presence or absence of a disorder or severity of diagnostic symptoms using scores from questionnaires. However less is known about the mechanisms that treatments act on that lead to a decrease in diagnostic symptoms. Johnson & Hoffart (2018) evaluated the underlying mechanisms that lead to treatment outcomes in MCT and CBT for anxiety disorders using a novel network approach. 

There were different networks of symptoms and mechanisms in MCT and CBT. For MCT it was found that metacognition, worry, and attention to threat were closely related, which is consistent with the S-REF model. In CBT attention to threat, worry and sleep problems had the highest out-strength. The cognitions were less important which is not consistent with CBT theory. Overall, the network-analysis across CBT and MCT gives a clear message about the importance of targeting worry and threat-monitoring in therapy for comorbid and complex anxiety disorders.

This paper gives further evidence for the MCT-model, with variables in the S-REF model being significant in both treatments. For the full article click here: