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PURPOSE: The purpose of this paper is to review the rationale for 'transdiagnostic' approaches to the understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders. METHODS: Databases, searches and examination of the reference lists of relevant studies were used to identify papers of relevance. RESULTS: There is increasing recognition that diagnosis-specific interventions for single anxiety-disorders are of less value than might appear since a large proportion of patients have more than one coexisting anxiety disorder and the treatment of one anxiety disorder does not necessarily lead to the resolution of others. As transdiagnostic approaches have the potential to address multiple coexisting anxiety disorders they are potentially more clinically relevant than single anxiety disorder interventions. They may also have advantages in ease of dissemination and in treating anxiety disorder not otherwise specified. CONCLUSIONS: The merits of the various transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioural approaches that have been proposed are reviewed. Such approaches have potential benefits, particularly in striking the balance between completely idiosyncratic formulations and diagnosis-driven treatments of anxiety disorders. However, caution is needed to ensure that transdiagnostic theories and treatments benefit from progress made by research on diagnosis-specific treatments, and further empirical work is needed to identify the shared maintaining processes that need to be targeted in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Clin Psychol

Publication Date





491 - 505


Anxiety Disorders, Cognitive Therapy, Comorbidity, Evidence-Based Medicine, Humans, Outcome Assessment (Health Care)