Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 June 2009
The effectiveness of brief treatment via assertiveness training and exposure in vivo was evaluated in a crossover study of eight agoraphobics. Exposure treatment brought short-term benefit as assessed by phobia questionnaires and a depression inventory, but assertiveness training did not. Conversely, assertiveness training produced short-term improvements as measured by an assertiveness inventory, while exposure treatment did not. Both treatments were relevant to the problems of our client sample, but they had specific effects on measures closely related to each treatment's target, consistent with the results of a similar recent study by Emmelkamp et al. (1983). At six-month follow-up assessment, phobia questionnaire scores were unchanged from post-treatment assessment, but assertion scores had reverted to pre-treatment levels. In addition, five untreated agoraphobics completed phobia questionnaires on two occasions, six months apart. In a quasi-experiment, their scores on the two occasions were compared with treated clients' pre- and post-treatment scores. Treated clients showed significantly greater improvement, demonstrating the sensitivity of the questionnaires to treatment effects.