A systematic review of mindfulness and acceptance-based treatments for social anxiety disorder

Alice R. Norton*, Maree J. Abbott, Melissa M. Norberg, Caroline Hunt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


Context: The cultivation of mindfulness and acceptance has been theoretically and empirically associated with psychological ancillary well-being and has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of various disorders. Hence, mindfulness and acceptance-based treatments (MABTs) have recently been explored for the treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD). This review aims to evaluate the benefits of MABTs for SAD. Methods: Systematic review of studies investigating an MABT for individuals with SAD, using PsycInfo, Medline, PubMed, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Results: Nine studies were identified. Significant improvements in symptomatology were demonstrated following the MABT, but benefits were equivalent or less than yielded by cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Limitations: The few treatment studies available were compromised by significant methodological weaknesses and high risk of bias across domains. Studies were largely uncontrolled with small sample sizes. The hybrid nature of these interventions creates ambiguity regarding the specific utility of treatment components or combinations. Conclusions: MABTs demonstrate significant benefits for reducing SAD symptomatology; however, outcomes should be interpreted with caution until appropriate further research is conducted. Furthermore, the benefit of MABTs above and beyond CBT must be considered tentative at best; thus, CBT remains best practice for first-line treatment of SAD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-301
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • social anxiety disorder
  • mindfulness
  • acceptance
  • treatment

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