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Treatment of social phobia through pure self-help and therapist-augmented self-help

  • Ronald M. Rapee (a1), Maree J. Abbott (a2), Andrew J. Baillie (a1) and Jonathan E. Gaston (a3)

Abstract

Background

Self-help for social phobia has not received controlled empirical evaluation.

Aims

To evaluate the efficacy of pure self-help through written materials for severe social phobia and self-help augmented by five group sessions with a therapist. These conditions were compared with a waiting-list control and standard, therapist-led group therapy.

Method

Participants with severe generalised social phobia (n=224) were randomised to one of four conditions. Assessment included diagnoses, symptoms and life interference at pretreatment, 12 weeks and at 24 weeks.

Results

A larger percentage of patients no longer had a diagnosis of social phobia at post-intervention in the pure self-help group than in the waiting-list group, although this percentage decreased slightly over the next 3 months. Symptoms of social anxiety and life interference did not differ significantly between these groups. Augmented self-help was better than waiting list on all measures and did not differ significantly from group treatment.

Conclusions

Self-help augmented by therapist assistance shows promise as a less resource-intensive method for the management of social phobia. Pure self-help shows limited efficacy for this disorder.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Ronald M. Rapee, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia. Email: Ron.Rapee@mq.edu.au

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

R.M.R. authored the book used for bibliotherapy and receives royalties.

Footnotes

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Treatment of social phobia through pure self-help and therapist-augmented self-help

  • Ronald M. Rapee (a1), Maree J. Abbott (a2), Andrew J. Baillie (a1) and Jonathan E. Gaston (a3)
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