The efficacy of incorporating motivational interviewing to cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety disorders: A review and meta-analysis

Isabella Marker, Peter J. Norton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Motivational Interviewing (MI) has been suggested as an adjunct to Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders. Although preliminary evidence suggests that MI as a prelude to CBT (MI + CBT) improves various aspects of treatment from initial engagement, overall symptom reduction, and treatment drop out rate, results are inconsistent. The current meta-analysis combined the findings of 12 trials examining the efficacy of MI + CBT in comparison to CBT alone. Across studies, MI + CBT outperformed standard CBT in terms of overall anxiety symptom reduction, Hedges g = 0.59. Drop out rates were not significantly different between groups. Moderator analyses revealed no significant differences based on specific anxiety diagnosis or dose of MI. The findings of this meta-analysis suggest that MI as an adjunct to CBT for anxiety disorders improves treatment outcome, in comparison to CBT alone. Limitations of the study and future research directions are explored.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Meta-analysis
  • Motivation
  • Motivational interviewing

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