Unified protocols for transdiagnostic treatment versus the Beckian’s approach of cognitive behavioral therapy for medical students with emotional disorders

DOI: 10.2478/amma-2022-0002

Background: Emotional disorders are highly prevalent among medical students, impacting their academic performance and general quality of life. It was shown that cognitive-behavioral and emotion regulation strategies are efficient for reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms in young people.
Objective: This study aims to compare the efficiency of standard individual Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to a group intervention based on the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment (UPTT) of emotional disorders in two groups of medical students with similar baseline characteristics.
Method: The sample of this research was composed of 64 medical students in total, of which 34 were included in the CBT group (Mage= 19.5 years, SD= 0.96) and 30 were included in the UPTT group (Mage= 19.4 years, SD= 0.93). The level of irrational beliefs and emotional distress were measured before and after the interventions, which were carried out by certificated psychotherapists.
Results: Statistically significant differences were observed between pre-test and post-test in both groups. The level of irrational beliefs dropped after the CBT (M=62.91, SD=21.30, p<0.05) and the UPTT intervention (M=67.33, SD=34.89, p<0.05), respectively. Similarly, the profile of emotional distress changed after the CBT (M=77.62, SD=16.97, p<0.05) and the UPTT intervention (M=68.77, SD=20.06, p<0.01).
Conclusion: Psychological interventions relying on cognitive-behavioral approaches, including standard, individual psychotherapy and a group intervention designed according to a transdiagnostic protocol, are suitable methods for reducing emotional disorders among medical students.

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