Shyness 3: Randomized controlled trial of guided versus unguided Internet-based CBT for social phobia

Nickolai Titov*, Gavin Andrews, Isabella Choi, Genevieve Schwencke, Alison Mahoney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: In two previous randomized controlled trials Titov et al. demonstrated significant benefit from an Internet- and email-based treatment programme for social phobia. The present study (Shyness 3) explores whether participants are able to complete this programme independently. Method: A total of 98 individuals with social phobia were randomly assigned to a clinician-assisted computerized cognitive behavioural treatment (CaCCBT) group, a self-guided computerized CBT (CCBT) group, or to a waitlist control group. CaCCBT group participants completed the usual Shyness programme consisting of six online lessons, cognitive behavioural homework assignments, email contact with a therapist, and participation in an online discussion forum. CCBT group participants accessed the same resources except for therapist emails. An intention-to-treat model was used for data analyses. Results: A total of 77% of CaCCBT and 33% of CCBT group participants completed all lessons. Significant differences were found after treatment between CaCCBT and control groups (mean between-groups effect size (ES) for the social phobia measures = 1.04), and between the CaCCBT and CCBT groups (mean between-groups ES for the social phobia measures = 0.66). No significant differences were found after treatment between the CCBT and control groups (mean between-groups ES for the social phobia measures = 0.38). CCBT participants, however, who completed the six lessons made good progress (mean within-group ES for the social phobia measures = 0.62). Quantitative and qualitative data indicate that both the CaCCBT and CCBT procedures were acceptable to participants. Conclusions: The reliability of this Internet-based treatment programme for social phobia has been confirmed. The therapist-guided condition was superior to the self-guided condition, but a subgroup of participants still benefited considerably from the latter. These data confirm that self-guided education or treatment programmes for common anxiety disorders can result in significant improvements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1030-1040
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume42
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Clinician-assisted computerized cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Internet
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Self-guided
  • Social phobia
  • Treatment

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