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Treatment of Social Phobia

This study has been completed.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by:
Boston University Identifier:
First received: November 2, 1999
Last updated: August 5, 2013
Last verified: August 2013

Social phobia is a very common and debilitating disorder, with public speaking anxiety being the most common fear. Psychologists have found that treating patients for their fear of public speaking, through cognitive-behavioral treatment (talk-based therapy) or exposure treatment (where participants participate in actual public speaking sessions), not only helps patients overcome this fear but also helps them overcome their more general social fears. However, little is known about how this change occurs during therapy. This study tries to identify the factors that contribute most to successful therapy.

Patients are assigned randomly (like tossing a coin) to 1 of 3 groups. Group 1 will receive cognitive-behavioral treatment and Group 2 will receive exposure treatment. Group 3 will not receive treatment. Study leaders will monitor patient response to treatment through behavioral tests and assessments.

An individual may be eligible for this study if he/she:

Has social phobia with public speaking anxiety.

Condition Intervention
Phobic Disorders
Social Phobia
Public Speaking Anxiety
Behavioral: Cognitive behavior therapy
Behavioral: Performance-based exposure therapy
Behavioral: Psychosocial intervention

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Treatment of Social Phobia: Mediators And Moderators

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Boston University:

Study Start Date: May 1998
Estimated Study Completion Date: February 2003
Detailed Description:

The primary goal of the present study is to identify the mediators and moderators of change in the treatment of social phobia and, in so doing suggest a common mechanism of action for all brief psychosocial interventions. Perceived self-efficacy of social behavior, negative cognitive appraisal (estimated social costs), and perceived emotional control will be considered as potential mediators; avoidant personality disorder and the generalized subtype of social phobia will be considered as potential predictors for poor treatment outcome.

Social phobia is a very prevalent and debilitating disorder, with public speaking anxiety being the most common fear among socially phobic individuals. Although there are a number of effective psychosocial treatments for social phobia (e.g., cognitive-behavioral treatments and exposure therapy) very little is known about the underlying mechanism of therapeutic change (i.e., the mediators of change), and the variables that are predictive of treatment outcome (i.e., the moderators of change). Furthermore, it is unclear why treating individuals for their public speaking anxiety can generalize to other untreated social fears.

Patients are randomly assigned to either a comprehensive cognitive-behavioral treatment for social phobia (n=43), a performance-based exposure treatment for public speaking anxiety without cognitive intervention (n=43), or a waitlist control group (n=43). Clinician ratings, behavioral tests, cognitive assessments, subjective ratings, and physiological measures are employed to determine the degree of therapeutic gains in various social phobia domains. The main hypothesis is that perceived emotional control will mediate treatment outcome and generality of effectiveness independent of the specific treatment condition.


Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Senior
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

Patients must have:

Social phobia with public speaking anxiety.

  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00000370

United States, Massachusetts
Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02215
Sponsors and Collaborators
Boston University
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Stefan Hofmann, PhD
  More Information Identifier: NCT00000370     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R29MH057326  DSIR AT-AS 
Study First Received: November 2, 1999
Last Updated: August 5, 2013
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by Boston University:
Cognitive Therapy
Cost of Illness
Phobic Disorders
Phobic Disorders -- *therapy
Phobic Disorders -- pathology

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Phobic Disorders
Anxiety Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on October 21, 2016