A randomized controlled trial of a smartphone-based application for the treatment of anxiety

Michelle G. Newman, Nicholas C. Jacobson, Gavin N. Rackoff, Megan Jones Bell, C. Barr Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Introduction: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is prevalent among college students. Smartphone-based interventions may be a low-cost treatment method. Method: College students with self-reported GAD were randomized to receive smartphone-based guided self-help (n = 50), or no treatment (n = 50). Post-treatment and six-month follow-up outcomes included the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-Short Form Stress Subscale (DASS Stress), the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ-11), and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Trait (STAI-T), as well as diagnostic status assessed by the GAD-Questionnaire, 4th edition. Results: From pre- to post-treatment, participants who received guided self-help (vs. no treatment) experienced significantly greater reductions on the DASS Stress (d = −0.408) and a greater probability of remission from GAD (d = −0.445). There was no significant between-group difference in change on the PSWQ-11 (d = −0.208) or STAI-T (d = −0.114). From post to six-month follow-up there was no significant loss of gains on DASS Stress scores (d = −0.141) and of those who had remitted, 78.6% remained remitted. Yet rates of remitted participants no longer differed significantly between conditions at follow-up (d = −0.229). Conclusion: Smartphone-based interventions may be efficacious in treating some aspects of GAD. Methods for improving symptom reduction and long-term outcome are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPsychotherapy Research
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology


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