Publications by authors named "Laura B Allen"

12 Publications

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Toward a Unified Treatment for Emotional Disorders - Republished Article.

Behav Ther 2016 Nov 10;47(6):838-853. Epub 2016 Nov 10.

Boston University.

Over 40 years of development of cognitive behavioral approaches to treating anxiety and related emotional disorders have left us with highly efficacious treatments that are increasingly widely accepted. Nevertheless, these manualized protocols have become numerous and somewhat complex, restricting effective training and dissemination. Deepening understanding of the nature of emotional disorders reveals that commonalities in etiology and latent structure among these disorders supercedes differences. This suggests the possibility of distilling a set of psychological procedures that would comprise a unified intervention for emotional disorders. Based on theory and data emerging from the fields of learning, emotional development and regulation, and cognitive science, we identify three fundamental therapeutic components relevant to the treatment of emotional disorders generally. These three components include (a) altering antecedent cognitive reappraisals; (b) preventing emotional avoidance; and (c) facilitating action tendencies not associated with the emotion that is dysregulated. This treatment takes place in the context of provoking emotional expression (emotional exposure) through situational, internal, and somatic (interoceptive cues), as well as through standard mood-induction exercises, and differs from patient to patient only in the situational cues and exercises utilized. Theory and rationale supporting this new approach are described along with some preliminary experience with the protocol. This unified treatment may represent a more efficient and possibly a more effective strategy in treating emotional disorders, pending further evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2016.11.005DOI Listing
November 2016

A Unified, Transdiagnostic Treatment for Adolescents With Chronic Pain and Comorbid Anxiety and Depression.

Cogn Behav Pract 2012 Feb;19(1):56-67

Pediatric Pain Program, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Chronic pain disorders represent a significant public health concern, particularly for children and adolescents. High rates of comorbid anxiety and unipolar mood disorders often complicate psychological interventions for chronic pain. Unified treatment approaches, based on emotion regulation skills, are applicable to a broad range of emotional disorders and suggest the possibility of extending these interventions to chronic pain and pain-related dysfunction. This case report describes the use of a unified protocol for treatment of an adolescent boy with chronic daily headache and social anxiety and an adolescent girl with whole body pain and depression. Following weekly, 50-minute individual treatment sessions, the boy demonstrated notable improvement in emotional symptoms, emotion regulation skills, somatization, and functional disability. The girl showed some improvement on measures of anxiety and depression, although there appeared to be a worsening of pain symptoms and somatization. However, both patients demonstrated improvement over follow-up. This case study illustrates the potential utility of a unified treatment approach targeting pain and emotional symptoms from an emotion regulation perspective in an adolescent population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpra.2011.04.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5560774PMC
February 2012

Peer mentorship to promote effective pain management in adolescents: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.

Trials 2011 May 22;12:132. Epub 2011 May 22.

Pediatric Pain Program, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Background: This protocol is for a study of a new program to improve outcomes in children suffering from chronic pain disorders, such as fibromyalgia, recurrent headache, or recurrent abdominal pain. Although teaching active pain self-management skills through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or a complementary program such as hypnotherapy or yoga has been shown to improve pain and functioning, children with low expectations of skill-building programs may lack motivation to comply with therapists' recommendations. This study will develop and test a new manualized peer-mentorship program which will provide modeling and reinforcement by peers to other adolescents with chronic pain (the mentored participants). The mentorship program will encourage mentored participants to engage in therapies that promote the learning of pain self-management skills and to support the mentored participants' practice of these skills. The study will examine the feasibility of this intervention for both mentors and mentored participants, and will assess the preliminary effectiveness of this program on mentored participants' pain and functional disability.

Methods: This protocol will recruit adolescents ages 12-17 with chronic pain and randomly assign them to either peer mentorship or a treatment-as-usual control group. Mentored participants will be matched with peer mentors of similar age (ages 14-18) who have actively participated in various treatment modalities through the UCLA Pediatric Pain Program and have learned to function successfully with a chronic pain disorder. The mentors will present information to mentored participants in a supervised and monitored telephone interaction for 2 months to encourage participation in skill-building programs. The control group will receive usual care but without the mentorship intervention. Mentored and control subjects' pain and functioning will be assessed at 2 months (end of intervention for mentored participants) and at 4 month follow-up to see if improvements persist. Measures of treatment adherence, pain, disability, and anxiety and depression will be assessed throughout study participation. Qualitative interviews for mentors, mentored participants, and control subjects will also be administered.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01118988.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1745-6215-12-132DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3113991PMC
May 2011

Depression partially mediates the relationship between alexithymia and somatization in a sample of healthy children.

J Health Psychol 2011 Nov 4;16(8):1177-86. Epub 2011 Apr 4.

University of California at Los Angeles, CA, USA.

A link between alexithymia and somatization has been widely established, yet little is known about different factors that may influence this relationship. Evidence supporting the idea of psychopathology as a mediator has been presented but not widely tested, particularly in children. The present study examined depressive symptoms as a mediator of alexithymia and somatization in a sample of healthy children in order to better understand the alexithymia-somatization link from a developmental perspective. Results indicated that depression significantly partially mediated this relationship, at least for two facets of alexithymia (difficulty identifying and describing feelings). Possible mechanisms, implications, and directions for future research are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1359105311402407DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3132307PMC
November 2011

Attrition in a multicenter clinical trial for panic disorder.

J Nerv Ment Dis 2010 Sep;198(9):665-71

Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-Saint Louis, Saint Louis, MO 63121, USA.

This study examined attrition in a multisite clinical trial for panic disorder. Of 379 eligible patients, 19 refused treatment (5% Refusal Rate), 104 discontinued treatment prematurely (19% Dropout Rate) or were withdrawn by the investigators (8% Withdrawal Rate), and 256 completed the treatment (68% Completion Rate). Logistic regression was used to examine 5 domains theorized to be related to attrition (e.g., diagnostic severity, treatment factors). Few variables were associated with increased odds of attrition at padj < 0.004. Younger age was the only independent predictor of attrition in the demographic factor model. Diagnostic severity and comorbidity, panic disorder symptom severity, treatment factors, and therapist factors were unrelated to study attrition. Patient dropout was highest after treatment sessions that targeted interoceptive and situational exposure exercises. Findings suggest that attrition may not strongly threaten the validity of results from treatment outcome studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181ef3627DOI Listing
September 2010

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) for Panic Disorder: Relationship of Anxiety and Depression Comorbidity with Treatment Outcome.

J Psychopathol Behav Assess 2010 06 24;32(2):185-192. Epub 2009 Jul 24.

Research evaluating the relationship of comorbidity to treatment outcome for panic disorder has produced mixed results. The current study examined the relationship of comorbid depression and anxiety to treatment outcome in a large-scale, multi-site clinical trial for cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for panic disorder. Comorbidity was associated with more severe panic disorder symptoms, although comorbid diagnoses were not associated with treatment response. Comorbid generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) were not associated with differential improvement on a measure of panic disorder severity, although only rates of comorbid GAD were significantly lower at posttreatment. Treatment responders showed greater reductions on measures of anxiety and depressive symptoms. These data suggest that comorbid anxiety and depression are not an impediment to treatment response, and successful treatment of panic disorder is associated with reductions of comorbid anxiety and depressive symptoms. Implications for treatment specificity and conceptual understandings of comorbidity are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10862-009-9151-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2855025PMC
June 2010

Relationship of exposure to clinically irrelevant emotion cues and obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

Behav Modif 2009 Nov;33(6):743-62

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, USA.

Research has highlighted the role of emotion regulation as a common factor underlying emotional disorders. The current study examined the relationship of emotion regulation skills to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms. Seven participants with a principal diagnosis of OCD in a multiple-baseline across subjects design were taught the skill of prevention of emotional avoidance in the context of emotion provocation procedures to clinically irrelevant (nonspecific) cues prior to practicing this skill with clinically relevant (OCD-specific) cues. Results suggested successful acquisition of emotion regulation skills (as evidenced by decreased thought suppression and increased acceptance of thoughts and feelings) in clinically irrelevant contexts. Acquisition of this skill was associated with decreases in obsessive-compulsive symptoms, even though clinically relevant cues were not introduced during this phase. Implementation of skills in clinically relevant contexts was associated with greater reductions in OCD symptoms. Discussion focuses on implications for emotion regulatory processes in the maintenance and treatment of emotional disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0145445509344180DOI Listing
November 2009

Anxiety sensitivity and catastrophizing: associations with pain and somatization in non-clinical children.

J Health Psychol 2009 Nov;14(8):1085-94

Pediatric Pain Program, Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90024, USA.

This study examined the relationships among anxiety sensitivity (AS), catastrophizing, somatization and pain in 240 non-clinical children (121 girls; mean age = 12.7 years). Children with pain problems (n = 81; 33.8%) reported greater AS and catastrophizing (ps < .01) relative to children without pain problems. AS but not catastrophizing was significantly associated with current pain. However, both AS and catastrophizing were significantly associated with somatization. AS and catastrophizing represent related but partially distinct cognitive constructs that may be targeted by interventions aimed at alleviating pain and somatization in children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1359105309342306DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2770141PMC
November 2009

Sex differences in the association between cortisol concentrations and laboratory pain responses in healthy children.

Gend Med 2009 ;6 Suppl 2:193-207

Pediatric Pain Program, Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine, The University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.

Background: Research in adult populations has highlighted sex differences in cortisol concentrations and laboratory pain responses, with men exhibiting higher cortisol concentrations and reduced pain responses compared with women. Yet, less is known about the relationship of cortisol concentrations to pain in children.

Objective: This study examined associations between sex, cortisol, and pain responses to laboratory pain tasks in children.

Methods: Salivary cortisol samples from subjects aged 8 to 18 years were obtained at baseline after entering the laboratory (SCb), after the completion of all pain tasks (SC1), and at the end of the session (SC2), 20 minutes later. Blood cortisol samples were also taken after completion of the pain tasks (BC1) and at the end of the session (BC2), 20 minutes later. Subjects completed 3 counterbalanced laboratory pain tasks: pressure, heat, and cold pressor tasks. Pain measures included pain tolerance, and self-reported pain intensity and unpleasantness for all 3 tasks.

Results: The study included 235 healthy children and adolescents (119 boys, 116 girls; mean age, 12.7 years; range, 8-18 years; 109 [46.4%] were in early puberty; 94 [40.0%] white). Salivary and blood cortisol levels were highly correlated with each other. Salivary cortisol levels for the total sample and for boys and girls declined significantly from SCb to SC1 (P < 0.01), although there were no significant changes from SC1 to SC2. No significant sex differences in salivary or blood cortisol levels were evident at any assessment point. Separate examination of the cortisol-laboratory pain response relationships by sex (controlling for age and time of day) suggested different sex-specific patterns. Higher cortisol levels were associated with lower pain reactivity (ie, increased pressure tolerance) among boys compared with girls at SC1, SC2, and BC1 (SC1: r = 0.338, P = 0.003; SC2: r = 0.271, P = 0.020; and BC1: r = 0.261, P = 0.026). However, higher cortisol levels were related to higher pain response (ie, increased cold intensity [BC2: r = 0.229, P = 0.048] and unpleasantness [BC1: r = 0.237, P = 0.041]) in girls compared with boys.

Conclusions: These findings suggest important sex differences in cortisol-pain relationships in children and adolescents. Cortisol levels were positively associated with increased pain tolerance in boys and increased pain sensitivity in girls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.genm.2009.03.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3486740PMC
September 2010

Distress and avoidance in generalized anxiety disorder: exploring the relationships with intolerance of uncertainty and worry.

Cogn Behav Ther 2010 ;39(2):126-36

Psychology Department, Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.

Theory and research suggest that treatments targeting experiential avoidance may enhance outcomes for patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The present study examined the role of experiential avoidance and distress about emotions in a treatment-seeking sample with a principal diagnosis of GAD compared with demographically matched nonanxious controls and sought to explore their shared relationship with two putative psychopathological processes in GAD: intolerance of uncertainty and worry. Patients with GAD reported significantly higher levels of experiential avoidance and distress about emotions compared with nonclinical controls while controlling for depressive symptoms, and measures of these constructs significantly predicted GAD status. Additionally, experiential avoidance and distress about anxious, positive, and angry emotions shared unique variance with intolerance of uncertainty when negative affect was partialed out, whereas only experiential avoidance and distress about anxious emotions shared unique variance with worry. Discussion focuses on implications for treatment as well as future directions for research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/16506070902966918DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2866754PMC
August 2010

Predictors and time course of response among panic disorder patients treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy.

J Clin Psychiatry 2008 Mar;69(3):418-24

Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Objective: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is well documented as an efficacious treatment for panic disorder. We provided open CBT treatment to patients who subsequently participated in a maintenance treatment study. This article reports on predictors and trajectory of response in 381 participants who completed treatment at 4 sites.

Method: Participants who met criteria for panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (N = 381) completed assessment and entered treatment. Of these, 256 completed 11 sessions of CBT delivered by trained and supervised research therapists. Raters trained to reliability obtained demographic data and administered structured diagnostic interviews and the Hamilton Rating Scales for Depression and Anxiety and the Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS) measures at baseline and posttreatment. We obtained self-report (SR) measures of anxiety sensitivity and adult separation anxiety at baseline and posttreatment and PDSS-SR ratings weekly. The study was conducted between November 1999 and July 2002.

Results: Treatment response rate was 65.6% for completers and 44.1% for the intent-to-treat sample. Greater severity of panic disorder and lower levels of adult separation anxiety predicted response. Beginning at week 4, responders showed greater mean decreases in PDSS scores than non-responders and maintained the advantage throughout the treatment. By week 6, 76% of responders, compared to 36% of nonresponders, recorded PDSS scores at least 40% below baseline on 2 consecutive weeks (odds ratio = 5.42, 95% CI = 3.10 to 9.48).

Conclusion: These results suggest that CBT is just as effective for more severe panic disorder patients as it is for those with less severe panic disorder, regardless of other comorbid disorders, including agoraphobia. However, patients experiencing adult separation anxiety disorder are less likely to respond. Our results further inform clinicians that many people who will respond to 11 weeks of treatment will have done so by the middle of the treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4088/jcp.v69n0312DOI Listing
March 2008

Cognitive behavioral therapy for panic disorder and comorbidity: more of the same or less of more?

Behav Res Ther 2007 Jun 27;45(6):1095-109. Epub 2006 Oct 27.

Department of Psychology, UCLA, 1285 Franz Hall, Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA.

This study compared the effects of a higher dose of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for panic disorder versus CBT for panic disorder combined with "straying" to CBT for comorbid disorders in individuals with a principal diagnosis of panic disorder with or without agoraphobia. Sixty-five participants were randomly assigned to one of two treatment conditions, either CBT focused solely upon panic disorder and agoraphobia or CBT that simultaneously addressed panic disorder and agoraphobia and, to a lesser degree, the most severe comorbid condition. Results indicated a significant reduction in panic disorder severity and a decline in severity of comorbid diagnoses across both treatment conditions. However, individuals receiving CBT focused only on panic disorder were more likely to meet high end-state functioning at post-treatment, even in intent-to-treat analyses, and report zero panic attacks at the 1-year follow-up, although this effect was not retained in intent-to-treat analyses. At follow-up, CBT focused only on panic disorder yielded more substantial improvement in the most severe baseline comorbid condition, although not in intent-to-treat analyses, and a greater proportion of individuals in this treatment condition were rated as having no comorbid diagnoses, even in intent-to-treat analyses. These findings raise the possibility that remaining focused on CBT for panic disorder may be more beneficial for both principal and comorbid diagnoses than combining CBT for panic disorder with 'straying' to CBT for comorbid disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2006.09.006DOI Listing
June 2007
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