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Enhancing Exposure Therapy for Snake and Spider Phobias (Snake/Spider)

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02160470
Recruitment Status : Unknown
Verified July 2016 by University of Texas at Austin.
Recruitment status was:  Active, not recruiting
First Posted : June 10, 2014
Last Update Posted : July 25, 2016
Sponsor:
Collaborator:
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Texas at Austin

Brief Summary:
This study tests whether exposure therapy for fear of snakes or spiders is enhanced by the addition of a brief fear retrieval trial prior to treatment, and the use of compound extinction during treatment. The goal of the study is to determine whether these behavioral techniques enhance the efficacy of exposure therapy, one of the most empirically supported treatments for anxiety disorders.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Specific Phobia Behavioral: Exposure Therapy with Retrieval Behavioral: Exposure Therapy with Compound Extinction Behavioral: Exposure Therapy with Retrieval and Compound Extinction Behavioral: Therapist-guided Exposure Therapy Phase 1 Phase 2

Detailed Description:
This study tests whether exposure therapy for fear of snakes or spiders is enhanced by the addition of a brief fear retrieval trial prior to treatment, and the use of compound extinction during treatment. The goal of the study is to determine whether these behavioral techniques enhance the efficacy of exposure therapy, one of the most empirically supported treatments for anxiety disorders. Individuals between the ages of 18-65 with elevated fear of spiders or fear of snakes are randomly assigned to one of four treatment conditions (1) standard exposure therapy, (2) exposure therapy with fear retrieval augmentation, (3) exposure therapy with compound extinction augmentation, and (4) exposure therapy with fear retrieval and compound extinction augmentations. All participants undergo an online prescreen and a face-to-face screening assessment to determine eligibility and baseline (pre-treatment) symptom severity. Participants additionally complete assessments directly after treatment (post-treatment), and approximately one week after treatment (follow-up). The pre-treatment assessment occurs 1-14 days prior to treatment, the post-treatment assessment occurs during the treatment visit as soon as the treatment procedure is complete, and the follow-up assessment occurs within a window of 6-14 days after the completion of treatment. Participants complete two behavioral approach tests (in the treatment context and in the generalization context) at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and follow-up. Participants complete a battery of self-report questionnaires at pre-treatment and follow-up.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 120 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Enhancing Exposure Therapy for Snake and Spider Phobias With Fear Retrieval and Compound Extinction
Study Start Date : August 2012
Estimated Primary Completion Date : December 2016
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 2016

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Phobias

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Exposure with Retrieval
Exposure Therapy with Retrieval
Behavioral: Exposure Therapy with Retrieval
Participants will receive one-session exposure therapy (up to 92 minutes) for fear of spiders or fear of snakes. Thirty minutes prior to exposure therapy, participants will receive a fear retrieval trial, which is a brief exposure to the feared stimulus (snake or spider). Based on recent basic science research, the fear retrieval trial is expected to enhance the efficacy of exposure therapy.

Experimental: Exposure with Compounding
Exposure Therapy with Compound Extinction
Behavioral: Exposure Therapy with Compound Extinction
Participants will receive one-session exposure therapy (up to 92 minutes) for fear of spiders or fear of snakes. As a component of therapy, participants will receive compound extinction, which consists of exposure to two feared stimuli simultaneously (two spiders or two snakes). Based on recent basic science research, compound extinction is expected to enhance the efficacy of exposure therapy.

Experimental: Exposure with Retrieval and Compounding
Exposure Therapy with Retrieval and Compound Extinction
Behavioral: Exposure Therapy with Retrieval and Compound Extinction
Participants will receive one-session exposure therapy (up to 92 minutes) for fear of spiders or fear of snakes. Thirty minutes prior to exposure therapy, participants will receive a brief fear retrieval trial. As a component of therapy, participants will also receive compound extinction.

Active Comparator: Therapist-Guided Exposure Therapy
Therapist-guided Exposure Therapy
Behavioral: Therapist-guided Exposure Therapy
Participants will receive one-session exposure therapy (up to 92 minutes) for fear of spiders or fear of snakes.




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in peak subjective fear (0 - 100), behavioral approach (0 - 4), and heart rate reactivity to a live snake/spider not used during treatment (generalization context) from pre-treatment to follow-up [ Time Frame: pre-treatment (window of 1-14 days prior to treatment); follow-up (window of 6-14 days after treatment) ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in peak subjective fear (0 - 100), behavioral approach (0 - 4), and heart rate reactivity to a live snake/spider not used during treatment (generalization context) from pre-treatment to post-treatment. [ Time Frame: pre-treatment (window of 1-14 days prior to treatment); post-treatment (directly after the treatment procedure is completed) ]
  2. Change in peak subjective fear (0 - 100), behavioral approach (1 - 8), and heart rate reactivity to a live snake/spider used during treatment (treatment context) from pre-treatment to follow-up [ Time Frame: pre-treatment (window of 1-14 days prior to treatment); follow-up (window of 6-14 days after treatment) ]
  3. Change in peak subjective fear (0 - 100), behavioral approach (1 - 8), and heart rate reactivity to a live snake/spider used during treatment (treatment context) from pre-treatment to post-treatment [ Time Frame: pre-treatment (window of 1-14 days prior to treatment); post-treatment (directly after the treatment procedure is completed) ]
  4. Change in Fear of Snakes/Spiders Questionnaire from pre-treatment to follow-up [ Time Frame: pre-treatment (window of 1-14 days prior to treatment); follow-up (window of 6-14 days after treatment) ]
  5. Change in Snake/Spider Belief Questionnaire from pre-treatment to follow-up [ Time Frame: pre-treatment (window of 1-14 days prior to treatment); follow-up (window of 6-14 days after treatment) ]
  6. Change in Agoraphobic Cognitions Questionnaire for Snake/Spider Phobia from pre-treatment to follow-up [ Time Frame: pre-treatment (window of 1-14 days prior to treatment); follow-up (window of 6-14 days after treatment) ]
  7. Change in Self-Efficacy Questionnaire for Spider/Snake Phobia from pre-treatment to follow-up [ Time Frame: pre-treatment (window of 1-14 days prior to treatment); follow-up (window of 6-14 days after treatment) ]
  8. Change in Armfield and Mattiske Disgust Questionnaire from pre-treatment to follow-up [ Time Frame: pre-treatment (window of 1-14 days prior to treatment); follow-up (window of 6-14 days after treatment) ]
  9. Change in Lab for the Study of Anxiety Disorders Specific Phobia Diagnostic Questionnaire from pre-treatment to follow-up [ Time Frame: pre-treatment (window of 1-14 days prior to treatment); follow-up (window of 6-14 days after treatment) ]
    change from pre-treatment in current phobic diagnostic status and in level of phobic-related distress and impairment



Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Age 18 to 65.
  2. Speaks English fluently.
  3. A score of 70 or higher on the Fear of Snakes/Spiders Questionnaire.
  4. Demonstrates avoidance during behavioral approach tests (defined as inability to put palm flat on the bottom of a tank containing a snake/spider, and inability to touch a snake/spider with a bare finger).

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Unstable dose of psychotropic medications during the 4 weeks prior to baseline assessment.
  2. Currently receiving exposure-based treatment for snake/spider phobia.
  3. Currently at risk for suicide.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT02160470


Locations
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United States, Texas
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas, United States, 78712
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Texas at Austin
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Michael J Telch, PhD University of Texas at Austin

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Responsible Party: University of Texas at Austin
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02160470     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2011-10-0012
1F31MH100760-01 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: June 10, 2014    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 25, 2016
Last Verified: July 2016

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Phobic Disorders
Anxiety Disorders
Mental Disorders