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A brief behavioral intervention may reduce risk for cardiovascular disease

counsellingA controlled study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic indicates the usefulness of a brief behavioral intervention targeting psychological risk factors for vascular disease. Psychological distress, often manifesting as depression and anxiety, is a risk factor for vascular disease. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an empirically supported behavioral therapy that aims to enhance psychological flexibility through the use of acceptance, mindfulness and behavioral change strategies. When presented as a brief intervention, ACT has produced positive long-term outcomes in those with comorbidity.
30 patients at risk of vascular disease (i.e. with hypertension, diabetes mellitus or impaired fasting glucose, dyslipidemia or obesity) and scoring >10 on either the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 or the GAD-7, were randomly assigned (2:1) to a 1-day ACT plus education (ACT-IM) group workshop (ACT-IM) or to treatment as usual (TAU).
Twenty-six participants completed the ACT-IM intervention and 14 completed TAU. Results showed significant improvements in a general measure of well-being evaluated using the World Health Organization WHOQOL-BREF in the intervention group. No significant differences emerged however, between groups in this measure. On the contrary, the ACT intervention yielded larger effects on both secondary outcomes, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HRSA), suggesting that this brief, 1-day intervention may indeed be effective in treating psychological distress in this broad at-risk population with durable effects.
These findings suggest that a brief, 1-day intervention may indeed be effective in treating psychological distress in this broad at-risk population with durable effects. A 1-day workshop is a feasible and acceptable alternative to weekly treatments. This brief intervention was designed for ease of implementation in primary care settings, accessibility and cost-effectiveness.


Source: Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
Full bibliographic information
Dindo L, Marchman J, Gindes H, Fiedorowicz JG. A Brief Behavioral Intervention Targeting Mental Health Risk Factors for Vascular Disease: A Pilot Study. Psychother Psychosom 2015;84:183-185

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