Table of Contents:
During the last years, transdiagnostic interventions have been increasingly found in cognitive-behavioral research and practice. In contrast to disorder-specific approaches, they focus on certain processes that are associated with different mental disorders and influence their pathogenesis and course. These approaches also include transdiagnostic-relevant skills. Skill deficits are related to increased psychopathology as well as burden and disability. Particularly in the case of comorbidity, skill training complements – in out-patient as well as in in-patient settings – disorder-specific approaches.
Up to now, studies examining different skills in order to simultaneously analyze their relative importance to each other are lacking. The present dissertation project fills this gap by examining five skills (problem solving, emotion regulation, social competence, stress management, and relaxation ability) as well as self-esteem and self-efficacy by one structured method. The sample consisted of in- and out-patients of various disorders and comorbidity.
The first study (Hofmann, et al., 2014a) compared in- vs. out-patients at the beginning of a cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy regarding several skills. The difference between the two groups is smaller than a priori assumed: In-patients only have a lower ability to manage stress (mainly in the management of exhaustion).
Study 2 (Hofmann, et al., 2014b) confirmed the transdiagnostic claim of skills for anxiety vs. depressive disorders. Further, the initial assumption of greater skill deficits in patients with more than one diagnosis was corroborated. Moreover the effect depends moreover on the number of diagnoses.
The third study (Hofmann, et al., 2014c) supports the relationship between skills and disability, even when controlling for psychopathology. Moreover, in a longitudinal design, results showed the relevance of improvements in self-esteem for disability after therapy.
Overall, the studies highlight the relevance of skills as transdiagnostic constructs. The simultaneous examination and analysis enables a more differentiated picture of the relative relevance of skills in comparison to each other. This is of great practical importance and enables new perspectives on an individualized transdiagnostic therapy planning.