Our Current Studies

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


Complicated Grief

A Novel Mind-Body Program for Grieving Older Adults: A Pilot Study

What: The Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at the Massachusetts General Hospital is looking for adult participants age 55 or older who have lost their spouse or partner within the last 12 months and are currently experiencing distress in relation to the loss. We are conducting a study looking at the effects of an 8-session mind-body stress reduction and resiliency training program in reducing the distress experienced in acute grief.

Who: Individuals aged of 55 or more who are currently experiencing distress following a spousal/partner loss within the last year.

When: Starting in September, 2-hour weekly sessions running for 8 weeks. There will also be an initial screening visit, baseline visit, and follow up visit lasting approximately 2-3 hours each.

Where: Weekly sessions will take place at the Benson Henry Institute (www.bensonhenryinstitute.org). Screening, baseline, and follow-up sessions will take place at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Compensation: Qualified participants will be compensated up to $90 for all study assessments.

Contact: Sarah Wieman, SWIEMAN@mgh.harvard.edu, 617-726-1579


Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GATE: Generalized Anxiety - A Treatment Evaluation

Study Contact: Maddy 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 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 GAD (worry a lot, anxious of nervous often, have muscle tension, difficult sleeping, poor concentration)
  • You are over 18 years old
  • You do not currently practive 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. Please click here if you are interested in participating and someone will get back to you shortly.


Panic Disorder

Attention Bias Modification of CBT Treatment of Panic Disorder

Study Contact: Samantha Hellberg, (617) 724-0666, shellberg@partners.org

Study Description:The purpose of this research study is to examine the efficacy of augmenting Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (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 need to own a smart phone to complete the pre- and post- treatment assessments
  • Additionally, participants need to own a laptop or computer with reliable internet access, in order to be able to upload their Empatica E4 wristband data securely each night during the wristband monitoring period (2-weeks pre- and post- treatment)
  • 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.

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

    Enhancing Fear Extinction via Angiotension Type 1 Receptor Inhibition: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

    Study Sponsor: Department of Defense

    Study Contact: Sarah Wieman, (617) 726-1570, swieman@partners.org

    Description:The purpose of this research study is to see whether Losartan, a medication FDA-approved and commonly prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure, may be effective for treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After medical and psychiatric evaluations are completed, eligible participants are randomly assigned (that is, by chance) to one of 2 study medications lasting approximately 12 weeks:

    • Losartan
    • Placebo (a surgar pill without active medication)

    Key Eligibility criteria:

    • Adults 18 - 70 who have PTSD or Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms
    • PTSD symptoms experienced for at least three months

    Participants will be paid $25 upon completion of the intake visit, as well as $25 for each of 7 study assessment visits, for a maximum total of $200.


    Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

    We are not currently conducting and studies for primary social anxiety disorder.


    Control Participants

    We are not currently conducting any studies for control participants.

    More about the Massachusetts General Hospital

    Since 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital has been committed to delivering standard-setting medical care. Throughout the decades, the hospital has had a consistent commitment to advancing that care through pioneering research and educating future health care professionals.

    The third oldest general hospital in the United States and the oldest and largest hospital in New England, Mass General continues its tradition of excellence today.

    On July 17, 2012, Mass General was named America's best hospital by U. S. News & World Report based on our quality of care, patient safety and reputation in 16 different specialties.

    Contact Us

    Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders & Complicated Grief Program

    Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

    Phone: 1-866-44-WORRY

    email: anxietystudy@partners.org


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