Table 4

Inclusion and exclusion criteria for the included studies

StudyInclusion criteriaExclusion criteria
De Lima et al.86 (2019)GAD diagnosis (DSM-5)
Age 20–30 yr
Psychotherapy or hospitalization indication from the psychiatrist at the beginning of the study
Deppermann et al.115 (2014)Age 18–65 yr
PD with or without agoraphobia (DSM-IV-TR)
Severe somatic disorders
Diefenbach et al.116 (2016)Age > 18 yr
GAD as principal or coprincipal disorder
HAM-A and HAM-D cut-off
Unstable medical/psychiatric condition (e.g., thyroid disease, suicidality)
Current PTSD
Substance use disorder
Lifetime bipolar, psychotic, developmental or obsessive–compulsive disorder
Concurrent psychotherapy
Dilkov et al.87 (2017)Age 18–65 yr
GAD primary diagnosis (DSM-IV)
Diagnosis of psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder I, MDD or substance/alcohol dependence in the 6 months before the study
Severe axis II disorder
Severe or unstable medical conditions
ECT treatment in the previous 3 mo
TMS treatment in the previous 6 mo
Herrmann et al.117 (2017)Specific phobia (acrophobia) diagnosis (DSM-IV)
Subjective motivation to do something about their fear (at least 3 on a scale of 0–10; extreme motivation)
Motion sickness with 3D movies < 4 (scale of 0–10)
Heights treatment in the previous 6 mo
Concurrent involvement in psycho-or pharmacotherapy
Huang et al.118 (2018)Age 18–65 yr
GAD primary diagnosis (DSM-IV)
Insomnia for at least 3 months
History of psychiatric diseases except GAD
Concurrent psychotherapy or counselling
Mantovani et al.119 (2013)Age 18–65 yr
PD and MDD primary diagnosis (DSM-IV-TR)
Current episode duration of at least a month
Residual panic attack and MDD symptoms despite medication
Stable medication for 4 wk
Stable psychotherapy for 3 mo
Suicide risk
History of bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder or substance dependance/abuse in the previous year
Movahed et al.120 (2018)Age 18–55 yr
GAD diagnosis (DSM-5)
5 points or higher on the 7-item GAD scale
Previous mental illness
Current physical illness
Current psychological or pharmacological medication
Nasiri et al.121 (2020)Age 18–40 yr
GAD primary diagnosis (DSM-5)
Comorbid MDD diagnosis (DSM-5)
No medication use
Speaks Persian fluently
Ability to participate in all assessment and treatment sessions
Need for immediate medical/therapeutic intervention
Received no more than 8 sessions of CBT-based intervention within the last 5 yr
Psychiatric disorder/substance abuse
Current diagnosis of mental disorders
Opposition to collaboration at any point in research
History of other psychological treatment
Notzon et al.88 (2015)Age 18–65 yr
Spider phobia (DSM-IV-TR)
At least 16 on the SPQ
Severe somatic disorder
History of psychiatric disorders except for specific phobia
Psychiatric or psychotropic medication
Prasko et al.122 (2007)ICD-10 PD with or without agoraphobia
Nonresponders to SRIs (at least 6 wk)
Age 18–45 yr
HAM-D score > 16
Organic psychiatric disorder
History of psychotic disorder in history
Abuse of alcohol or other drugs
Serious somatic disease
Using nonprescribed medication
  • CBT = cognitive behavioural therapy; DSM = Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; ECT = electroconvulsive therapy; GAD = generalized anxiety disorder; HAM-A = Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale; HAM-D = Hamilton Depression Rating Scale; MDD = major depressive disorder; NR = not reported; PD = panic disorder; PTSD = posttraumatic stress disorder; SP = specific phobia; SPQ = Spider Phobia Questionnaire; SRI = serotonin reuptake inhibitor; TMS = transcranial magnetic stimulation; TR = text revision.