Social phobia: individual response patterns and the effects of behavioral and cognitive interventions

Behaviour Research and Therapy
P P MerschJ van der Sleen

Abstract

In the present study, the role of individual response patterns in the treatment of social phobic patients was investigated. Seventy-four patients were diagnosed as social phobics. On the basis of extreme scores on a behavioral test (the Simulated Social Interaction Test) and on a cognitive measure (the Rational Behavior Inventory), the response patterns of 39 patients were analyzed, and the patients themselves were classified as either 'behavioral reactors' or 'cognitive reactors'. Half of the patients with each response pattern received a behavioral focused treatment, i.e. social skills training (SST), while the other half received a cognitive oriented treatment, i.e. rational emotive therapy (RET). Patients received group therapy in eight weekly sessions. Within-group differences showed a considerable improvement in all treatment groups. Between-group differences failed to lend support to the hypothesis that treatment that fits a response pattern (i.e. SST for behavioral reactors and RET for cognitive reactors) will result in a greater improvement than one that does not.

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