Effectiveness of Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness Tools in Reducing Depression and Anxiety: A Mixed Method Study


Depression and anxiety continue to be among the most common mental disorders. This study looked at three tracks of participants diagnosed with a mood disorder. The three tracks were Cognitive Therapy (CT), Mindfulness Training (MT), and Treatment As Usual (TAU). All participants had been trained in CT and then randomly separated into three groups. These three tracks were assessed at 3, 6, and 12 months in terms of their stated level of depression (measured on the Beck Depression Inventory) and anxiety (measured by the Beck Anxiety Inventory). This study was a follow-up to two previous studies (Alexander et al., 2012; Alexander & Tatum, 2013). In the current study, the participants reported the tools and skills they used to manage their mood and anxiety and then the effectiveness of these tools/skills was examined. Two tools were identified by three independent coders as the most frequently used by the participants. Both of these tools related to thought management (“thought records” and “thought distortions”). The two tools were combined into a single category (“thought tools”) and the frequency of their use was examined in relation to reductions in depression and anxiety. The results showed that a high use of these tools was connected to a significant reduction in reported depression. There was also a reduction in reported anxiety, but this effect was not statistically significant. Other tools that were reported (e.g., mood tracking, relaxation) showed no significant effects on depression and anxiety. Future research will now focus not on reported tool use, but rather on manipulating the incidence of tool use and determine the direct causal path between using a thought tool and reductions in negative moods.

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Alexander, V. & Tatum, B. (2014). Effectiveness of Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness Tools in Reducing Depression and Anxiety: A Mixed Method Study. Psychology, 5, 1702-1713. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.515178.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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