Symptom Reduction Without Remoralization: A Randomized, Waiting-List Controlled Study Aimed at Separating Two Beneficial Psychotherapy Outcome Effects

Wiede Vissers, Ger P. J. Keijsers*, Mirjam Kampman, Gert-Jan Hendriks, Paul Rijnders, Giel J. M. Hutschemaekers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Treatment effects in psychotherapy outcome research are generally based on the reduction of symptoms. Standard inclusion of other beneficial treatment effects such as remoralization (increase of hope, self-efficacy, well-being) might lead to more elaborate findings in the field of psychotherapy. On the other hand, it is also possible that symptom reduction and remoralization always go hand in hand in the experience of patients. The present study sought to experimentally test this assumption. Method: A total of 78 patients suffering from panic disorder were randomly assigned to brief remoralization treatment, brief exposure treatment, or waiting list (WL). Results: Both treatments increased remoralization and both reduced symptoms of panic disorder as compared to WL. Conclusion: It is unlikely that patients experience remoralization without symptom reduction or symptom reduction without remoralization. These findings do not favor the assumption that conclusions within psychotherapy outcome research are flawed because of its heavy reliance on measurements of symptom reduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-796
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

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