Flourishing and Virtue in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety and Depressive Disorders

  • End date
    Jul 1, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Boston University Charles River Campus
Updated on 26 December 2021
behavioral therapy
depressive disorder


This two phase study is testing an online version of a transdiagnostic, cognitive behavioral therapy, against a modified version of that therapy emphasizing positive affect. The first phase of the trial will focus on content development for the modified therapy and the second phase will be a randomized control trial comparing the two.


Research shows that positive emotions can buffer against the effects of stress as well as contribute to overall well-being and functioning. People with emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression, often report lower levels of positive emotions. However, to date, most existing treatment approaches for emotional disorders focus on regulating negative emotions, without explicitly focusing on positive emotions.

The Unified Protocol (UP) is a transdiagnostic, cognitive-behavioral therapy that has been shown to be effective for treating emotional disorders. The UP targets negative emotions and helps people respond to their emotions in ways that are more helpful for them and in line with their goals. In its current form, the UP does not explicitly target positive emotions, but some research suggests that individuals treated with the UP and other cognitive-behavioral treatments experience some improvement in positive affect.

In the current study, the researchers will create a modified version of the UP (called the UP+) delivered entirely on an online platform that will include exercises specifically designed to enhance positive emotions. Then, the researchers will evaluate the UP+ in a small sample of participants to examine acceptability and feasibility and will then use this information to continue to refine the protocol. Finally, the researchers will conduct a randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of the UP+. Participants diagnosed with emotional disorders will be randomized to either receive the UP or the UP+ delivered on an online platform and will be assessed on a range of outcomes, including positive and negative affect, psychological symptoms, and functional outcomes.

Condition Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), mood disorder, Affective Disorders, depressive disorders, Endogenous depression, Mood Disorders (Pediatric), Anxiety Disorders, Anxiety Disorders (Pediatric), ANXIETY NEUROSIS, depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD - Pediatric), Mood Disorders
Treatment Unified Protocol, Modified Unified Protocol (UP+)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05120232
SponsorBoston University Charles River Campus
Last Modified on26 December 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Diagnosed with a DSM-5 anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, or depressive disorder

Exclusion Criteria

Acute risk factors (suicidal or homicidal ideation or clinical condition
requiring immediate treatment)
The individual is in treatment elsewhere for related issues; and/or
The individual is unable or unwilling to commit to the study procedures
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
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Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

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