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.