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Promising Online Treatment for Teens with Social Anxiety

11 Jun

Researchers from Örebro University's School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, in Örebro, Sweden, investigated whether the promising results gained by internet-based cognitive behavior therapy with college students suffering from social anxiety and public speaking fears, could also be achieved with high school students.

In this randomized pilot with a pre-test/post-test design, 19 speech-anxious high school students with social anxiety disorder were randomized to either 9 weeks of Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy or to a wait-list control group.

Significant improvements were found on measures of social anxiety, general anxiety, and depression. Effects were maintained at 1-year follow-up.

The average within- and between-group effect sizes (Cohen's d) for the primary social anxiety scales at posttest were 0.98 and 1.38, respectively.

However, the average number of completed modules in the CBT program was low.

The researchers conclude that although compliance can use improvement, the results suggest that internet-based guided self-help is effective in the treatment of high school students with SAD

Citation: Tillfors M1, Andersson G, Ekselius L, Furmark T, Lewenhaupt S, Karlsson A, Carlbring P. A randomized trial of Internet-delivered treatment for social anxiety disorder in high school students. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 2011;40(2):147-57. doi: 10.1080/16506073.2011.555486

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.