Clinical Research

The Center is investigating the efficacy of treatments for Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Complicated Grief, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, while seeking to learn more about the underlying causes and course of Anxiety Disorders.

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Research Projects


Social Anxiety Disorder

Augmentation of Exposure Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder Using Post-exposure Naps
Study Contact: Peter Rosencrans, (617) 643-3070, prosencrans@partners.org

Study Description: This study examines whether a nap following a social exposure exercise in persons who are undergoing therapy for social anxiety will help to strengthen what they have learned from this exercise. This study involves a psychiatric and sleep disorders evaluation, questionnaires, a urine test for illegal substances, and sleep and activity monitoring. Participants will receive five weeks of exposure therapy for social anxiety.

You may be eligible if:

  • You have a persistent fear of social or performance situations, feel extremely anxious about being the focus of attention, or worry about potential scrutiny or embarrassment.
  • You are between 18 and 40 years of age.
  • You are not taking any psychiatric medication.
  • You have normal (or corrected) vision.

Compensation for participation includes treatment at no cost plus up to $360 for experimental sessions.

 

The Utility of Threat Detection in Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder
Study Sponsor: NIH
Study Contact: Emily O'Day, (617) 726-1570, eoday1@partners.org

Study Description: We are looking for adult participants suffering from generalized social anxiety disorder for a research study at Massachusetts General Hospital. The purpose of this study is to determine whether several perceptual characteristics may be associated with anxiety. In particular, we are interested in learning about how individuals perceive threat.

 You may be eligible if:

  • You are currently suffering from generalized social anxiety disorder.
  • You are between 18 and 65 years of age.
  • You have normal or corrected-to-normal visual acuity.
  • You are not currently taking any psychiatric medications.

People with severe unstable medical illness or a lifetime history of schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, or mental disorder due to a medical condition or substance, or dementia are excluded.

People with alcohol or substance abuse or dependence within the past six months are excluded.

This study involves having a formal psychiatric interview, completing twelve computer tasks, and filling out a packet of questionnaires over the course of two study visits. Each study visit will take about four hours, and participants will be paid up to $150 after completing both visits.

Neural and Genetic Basis of Negative Valence Traits
Study Contact:
Ben Kovachy, (617) 724-0666, bkovachy@partners.org

Study Description: Do you suffer from symptoms of anxiety? We are looking for volunteers for a research study to determine the effects of genes, behavior, and the brain on anxiety.

You may eligible if you suffer from symptoms of anxiety, are between 18 and 40 years old, are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and do not have:

  • A serious medical illness, including seizure disorder
  • Any reason that you cannot have an MRI, including recent head trauma or metal/piercings that cannot be removed

This study involves:

  • 1 visit to the MGH Main Campus for a clinical interview, DNA sample collection (saliva), and urine sample collection (approximately 3 hours)
  • 1 visit to the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging for an fMRI and self-report questionnaires (approximately 3.5 hours)
  • Optional supplemental survey that can be completed at home

You will receive up to $225 in compensation after completion of the study. Validation for parking may be provided.

Complicated Grief Disorder

We are not currently conducting any studies for Complicated Grief. Please check back soon for updates.

Panic Disorder

Attention Bias Modification of CBT Treatment of Panic Disorder
Study Contact:
Peter Rosencrans, (617) 643-3070, prosencrans@partners.org

Study Description:The purpose of this study is to examine the efficacy of augmenting CBT with Cognitive Bias Modification ­­-- a new and promising means of reducing cognitive biases thought to underlie the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders – in the treatment of Panic Disorder. All participants will receive 7 sessions of CBT. During their CBT visits, half of the participants will receive Cognitive Bias Modification; the other half will complete a placebo task.

Key Eligibility criteria:

  • Individuals 18 years of age and older with a primary diagnosis of panic disorder (as determined by the psychiatrists who conduct our initial screening process)
  • Participants cannot have agoraphobia that limits their ability to travel to weekly sessions. Participants cannot be at current risk of suicide.
  • Psychotropic medication is permitted if the participant is on a stable dose.
  • Within the last 3 months, participants cannot have received psychotherapy directed at the treatment of panic disorder. Prior non-response to adequately delivered exposure therapy also disqualifies.

Neural and Genetic Basis of Negative Valence Traits
Study Contact:
Ben Kovachy, (617) 724-0666, bkovachy@partners.org

Study Description: Do you suffer from symptoms of anxiety? We are looking for volunteers for a research study to determine the effects of genes, behavior, and the brain on anxiety.

You may eligible if you suffer from symptoms of anxiety, are between 18 and 40 years old, are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and do not have:

  • A serious medical illness, including seizure disorder
  • Any reason that you cannot have an MRI, including recent head trauma or metal/piercings that cannot be removed

This study involves:

  • 1 visit to the MGH Main Campus for a clinical interview, DNA sample collection (saliva), and urine sample collection (approximately 3 hours)
  • 1 visit to the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging for an fMRI and self-report questionnaires (approximately 3.5 hours)
  • Optional supplemental survey that can be completed at home

You will receive up to $225 in compensation after completion of the study. Validation for parking may be provided.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

GATE: Generalized Anxiety – A Treatment Evaluation
Study Contact: Madelyn Frumkin, (617) 726-3508, mfrumkin@partners.org

Study Description: We are currently conducting a research study comparing three different programs designed to reduce stress and anxiety in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This study involves having a formal psychiatric interview, filling out questionnaires, ECGs, saliva samples, a blood draw, a urine test for drugs of abuse, and study visits over 12 weeks. No medication is involved. Each study visit will take a few hours.

You may be eligible if:

  • You are currently suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (worry a lot, anxious or nervous often, have muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, poor concentration).
  • You are over 18 years old.
  • You do not currently practice mind-body techniques (e.g., yoga, meditation, Tai-Chi, etc.) or cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • You are not currently in psychotherapy for generalized anxiety.

Qualified participants will be compensated $40 for each of the 4 clinician assessments across the duration of the study, for a total of $160 for participation.

The Utility of Threat Detection in Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Study Sponsor:
NIH
Study Contact: Emily O'Day, (617) 726-1570, eoday1@partners.org

Study Description: We are looking for adult participants suffering from generalized anxiety disorder for a research study at Massachusetts General Hospital. The purpose of this study is to determine whether several perceptual characteristics may be associated with anxiety. In particular, we are interested in learning about how individuals perceive threat.

You may be eligible if:

  • You are currently suffering from generalized anxiety disorder.
  • You are between 18 and 65 years of age.
  • You have normal or corrected-to-normal visual acuity.
  • You are not currently taking any psychiatric medications.
  • People with severe unstable medical illness or a lifetime history of schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, or mental disorder due to a medical condition or substance, or dementia are excluded.
  • People with alcohol or substance abuse or dependence within the past six months are excluded.

This study involves having a formal psychiatric interview, completing twelve computer tasks, and filling out a packet of questionnaires over the course of two study visits. Each study visit will take about four hours, and participants will be paid up to $150 after completing both visits.

Neural and Genetic Basis of Negative Valence Traits
Study Contact:
Ben Kovachy, (617) 724-0666, bkovachy@partners.org

Study Description: Do you suffer from symptoms of anxiety? We are looking for volunteers for a research study to determine the effects of genes, behavior, and the brain on anxiety.

You may eligible if you suffer from symptoms of anxiety, are between 18 and 40 years old, are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and do not have:

  • A serious medical illness, including seizure disorder
  • Any reason that you cannot have an MRI, including recent head trauma or metal/piercings that cannot be removed

This study involves:

  • 1 visit to the MGH Main Campus for a clinical interview, DNA sample collection (saliva), and urine sample collection (approximately 3 hours)
  • 1 visit to the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging for an fMRI and self-report questionnaires (approximately 3.5 hours)
  • Optional supplemental survey that can be completed at home

You will receive up to $225 in compensation after completion of the study. Validation for parking may be provided.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Randomized Controlled Trial of Sertraline, Prolonged Exposure Therapy and their Combination in OEF/OIF/OND with PTSD
Study Sponsor:
Department of Defense
Study Contact: Andrew Rogers, (617) 726-1579, arogers7@partners.org
Enrollment Start Date: October 8th, 2011

Description: The purpose of this research study is to compare the effectiveness of the antidepressant medication sertraline and a type of talk therapy called prolonged exposure therapy for the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder for OEF/OIF/OND veterans and active duty service members. After medical and psychiatric evaluations are completed, eligible participants are randomly assigned (that is, by chance) to one of 3 study treatments:

  • Prolonged exposure therapy plus sertraline
  • Prolonged exposure therapy plus placebo (a sugar pill without active medication)
  • Sertraline alone

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • Active duty service members or veterans who have combat-related PTSD or Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms
  • PTSD symptoms experienced for at least three months
  • Served in one of the following conflicts: Operating Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), or Operation New Dawn (OND)

Participants will be paid, upon study completion, $50 for each of the six assessments they complete, for a maximum total of $300.

Neural and Genetic Basis of Negative Valence Traits
Study Contact:
Ben Kovachy, (617) 724-0666, bkovachy@partners.org

Study Description: Do you suffer from symptoms of anxiety? We are looking for volunteers for a research study to determine the effects of genes, behavior, and the brain on anxiety.

You may eligible if you suffer from symptoms of anxiety, are between 18 and 40 years old, are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and do not have:

  • A serious medical illness, including seizure disorder
  • Any reason that you cannot have an MRI, including recent head trauma or metal/piercings that cannot be removed

This study involves:

  • 1 visit to the MGH Main Campus for a clinical interview, DNA sample collection (saliva), and urine sample collection (approximately 3 hours)
  • 1 visit to the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging for an fMRI and self-report questionnaires (approximately 3.5 hours)
  • Optional supplemental survey that can be completed at home

You will receive up to $225 in compensation after completion of the study. Validation for parking may be provided.

Healthy Controls

The Utility of Threat Detection in Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Study Sponsor:
NIH
Study Contact: Emily O'Day, (617) 726-1570, eoday1@partners.org

Study Description: We are looking for adult participants suffering from generalized anxiety disorder for a research study at Massachusetts General Hospital. The purpose of this study is to determine whether several perceptual characteristics may be associated with anxiety. In particular, we are interested in learning about how individuals perceive threat.

You may be eligible if:

  • You are currently suffering from generalized anxiety disorder.
  • You are between 18 and 65 years of age.
  • You have normal or corrected-to-normal visual acuity.
  • You are not currently taking any psychiatric medications.
  • People with severe unstable medical illness or a lifetime history of schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, or mental disorder due to a medical condition or substance, or dementia are excluded.
  • People with alcohol or substance abuse or dependence within the past six months are excluded.

 

This study involves having a formal psychiatric interview, completing twelve computer tasks, and filling out a packet of questionnaires over the course of two study visits. Each study visit will take about four hours, and participants will be paid up to $150 after completing both visits.

Specific Phobias

Neural and Genetic Basis of Negative Valence Traits
Study Contact:
Ben Kovachy, (617) 724-0666, bkovachy@partners.org

Study Description: Do you suffer from symptoms of anxiety? We are looking for volunteers for a research study to determine the effects of genes, behavior, and the brain on anxiety.

You may eligible if you suffer from symptoms of anxiety, are between 18 and 40 years old, are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and do not have:

  • A serious medical illness, including seizure disorder
  • Any reason that you cannot have an MRI, including recent head trauma or metal/piercings that cannot be removed

This study involves:

  • 1 visit to the MGH Main Campus for a clinical interview, DNA sample collection (saliva), and urine sample collection (approximately 3 hours)
  • 1 visit to the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging for an fMRI and self-report questionnaires (approximately 3.5 hours)
  • Optional supplemental survey that can be completed at home

You will receive up to $225 in compensation after completion of the study. Validation for parking may be provided.