Adjustment to diagnosis of a long-term physical condition

Prof. Rona Moss-Morris

Tuesday, 18 October 2022


Around 30% of people with long-term physical health conditions (LTCs) experience comorbid anxiety and depression. For many, comorbid anxiety and depression (distress) is linked to difficulties adjusting to the challenges of the LTC. Professor Moss Morris and colleagues have developed a transdiagnostic model of adjustment to LTCs (TMA-LTC). Following a systematic review to collate pre-existing evidence-based models of adjustment across LTCs, models of adjustment for a range of LTCs have been synthesised into a new preliminary TMA-LTC. The model proposes that acute critical events or ongoing illness stressors can disrupt emotional equilibrium, and that whether a person returns to equilibrium and achieves good psychological adjustment depends on a number of cognitive and behavioural factors, as well as their interpersonal, intrapersonal, environmental and illness-specific contexts. This empirically and clinically informed model provides clinicians with a useful guide for assessment, formulation and treatment in the context of psychological adjustment to LTCs.

The event will be equivalent to 1.1/2hrs of CPD.


This webinar will provide an introduction to the transdiagnostic theoretical model of adjustment to LTCs (TMA-LTC), briefly demonstrate the application of this model in clinical practice and highlight the distinguishing features of treating LTC-related distress compared to treating primary anxiety and/or depression including adaptations to clinical interventions.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this webinar, attendees will be able to:
1. Understand the transdiagnostic theoretical model of adjustment to LTCs (TMA-LTC)
2. Describe how the model is applied in clinical practice
3. Recognise the distinguishing features of treating LTC-related distress compared to treating primary anxiety and/or depression.

Training Modalities

The webinar will include didactic content, polls, and experiential components.

Key References

Carroll, S., Moon, Z., Hudson, J., Hulme, K. & Moss-Morris, R. (in press). An evidence-based theory of psychological adjustment to long-term physical health conditions: Applications in clinical practice.
Hulme, K., Hudson, J., Picariello, F., Seaton, N., Norton, S., Wroe, A. & Moss-Morris, R. (2021). Clinical efficacy of COMPASS, a digital cognitive-behavioural therapy programme for treating anxiety and depression in patients with long-term physical health conditions: A protocol for randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 11 (10)
Carroll, S., Moss-Morris, R., Hulme, K. & Hudson, J. (2021) Therapists’ perceptions of barriers and facilitators to uptake and engagement with therapy in long-term conditions. British Journal of Health Psychology 26, 307-324 (first published 11 Oct 2020)
Hudson, J.L. & Moss-Morris, R. (2019) Treating Illness Distress in Chronic Illness. European Psychologist 24(1), 26-37

About the presenter

Rona Moss-Morris is Professor of Psychology as Applied to Medicine and Head of the Department of Psychology at the Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, King’s College London. She has been researching psychological factors that affect symptom experience and adjusting to chronic medical conditions for the past 30 years. This research has been used to design cognitive behavioural interventions, including digital interventions, for a range of patient groups. RCTs to test the clinical and cost effectiveness of these interventions form a key component of her research. In 2015 she was awarded the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology’s Outstanding Contribution to Research Award and in 2020 the British Psychological Society Distinguished Contribution to Practice Award. Her work on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was awarded the MS Society Annual Award for MS Research of the Year in 2013 and her work on irritable bowel syndrome, the King’s Excellence in Innovation and Impact Award in 2019. She was National Advisor to NHS England for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies for People with Long Term and Medically Unexplained conditions from 2011-2016. She is a past editor of Psychology and Health and current editor of Health Psychology Review.

Who should attend

This event is suitable for psychological practitioners working in primary care including CBT therapists and low intensity practitioners.