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A pilot study of brief psychodynamic psychotherapy for depression and anxiety in young Iranian adults: The effect of attachment style on outcomes

Heidari, S., Lewis, A.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-2519-7976, Allahyari, A., Azadfallah, P. and Bertino, M.D. (2013) A pilot study of brief psychodynamic psychotherapy for depression and anxiety in young Iranian adults: The effect of attachment style on outcomes. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30 (3). pp. 381-393.

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This pilot study examines the feasibility and efficacy of a brief psychodynamic therapy called brief empathic psychotherapy (BEP; B. Seruya, 1997, Empathic brief psychotherapy, Jason Aronson, Northvale, NJ) as a treatment for anxiety and depressive symptoms in a group of young university students in Iran. The study used an uncontrolled repeated-measures design with data collected at baseline, completion of treatment and at 3 months following completion. Participants were 20 students from an Iranian university who presented to the university’s health center with symptoms of anxiety and depression. All subjects were Persian. There were 9 men and 11 women participants, aged 19 to 24 years. Participants completed the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, short-form (A. Sahebi, M. J. Asghari, & R. S. Salari, 2004) and the Adult Attachment Scale (AAS; C. Hazan & P. Shaver, 1987) at each time point. The recruited sample included an equal number of participants with avoidant and anxious attachment styles, based on participants’ AAS scores. Both the anxious and the avoidant groups received 12 sessions of weekly individual therapy. Substantial and statistically significant posttreatment reductions were found in anxiety and depression symptoms for both attachment styles and these reductions increased in the follow-up period. Effect sizes were very large by Cohen’s criteria. This pilot study suggests that there is preliminary support for BEP as a feasible and potentially efficacious treatment of anxiety and depression in an Iranian cultural context. The study also suggests that BEP may be equally effective for individuals with either avoidant or ambivalent attachment styles, although this finding requires further investigation. Findings are discussed in terms of different therapeutic approaches suitable for individuals with anxious versus avoidant attachment styles.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Copyright: © 2013 American Psychological Association
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