Pacing is not necessary when delivering bibliotherapy for panic disorder, as long as treatment is guided by a therapist

shutterstock_74085415 Education book on table in library

A research team from Umeå University in Sweden have published a randomised controlled trial that investigates the importance of pacing when delivering bibliotherapy for people with panic disorder, i.e. should patients be ‘prescribed’ a full book as therapy all at once, or should they be given separate chapters each week?

The small trial randomised 28 participants to either 10 paced chapters or one book with 10 chapters. Short weekly telephone calls were made to all participants to try and increase compliance (M = 17.8 min, SD = 4.2).

Both treatment arms in the study showed promising results, with effects maintained up to 2 years and with within-group effect sizes (Cohen’s d) between 0.95 and 1.11. Pretreatment ratings of credibility were positively correlated with the change scores at both post-test and 2-year follow-up for three panic measures.

The researchers concluded:

Pacing of text material in bibliotherapy for panic disorder is not needed, and all material can be provided at once when the treatment is guided by a therapist.

Carlbring P, Maurin T, Sjömark J, Maurin L, Westling BE, Ekselius L, Cuijpers P, Andersson G. All at Once or One at a Time? A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Two Ways to Deliver Bibliotherapy for Panic Disorder. Cogn Behav Ther. 2011 Jun 28. [Epub ahead of print] [PubMed abstract]

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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