Exposure in vivo vs social skills training for social phobia: long-term outcome and differential effects

Behaviour Research and Therapy
Z WlazloN Münchau


This study examined the long-term effectiveness of specific exposure in vivo (individual IE or group GE) and of office-based social skills training (group SST) in two groups of patients with social inhibition (primary social skills deficits or primary social phobia). Seventy-eight outpatients were divided into these two subgroups according to clinical assessment. Twenty-seven patients received SST which consisted of 25 twice a week 90-min group sessions: 32 patients received GE and 17 IE. Exposure in vivo consisted of 4 weekly (8-hr in the group condition included 2 hr discussion; 3 hr in the individual condition included 1 hr discussion) sessions. Self-rating-assessments were carried out at pre- and post-treatment, at 3 months- and 2.5 yr follow-up. The general results indicate that all three treatment modes led to clinically and statistically-significant improvements in the main problem area (social anxiety, skills deficits), in other neurotic complaints (depression, obsessions, psychosomatic complaints) and in attribution-style. Patients with the diagnosis of primary phobia seemed to get the same profit from either treatment and showed slightly better gains (in all treatment modalities) than patients with skills deficits at ...Continue Reading


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