Improving adherence to a web-based cognitive-behavioural therapy program for social anxiety with group sessions: A randomised control trial

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Internet Interventions, 2022, 28, pp. 100535
Issue Date:
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Individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) commonly receive non-evidence based, ineffective treatments. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) has been demonstrated to be the gold standard treatment for treating SAD. Scalable web-based CBT programs ensure evidence-based treatment procedures, but low treatment adherence remains problematic. This study aimed to test whether adding group sessions to a fully automated web-based CBT program, Overcome Social Anxiety (OSA), would increase treatment adherence. A total of 69 participants were provided access to a web-based program, and randomly allocated to three conditions: 1) An experimental condition involving an addition of three online group psychoeducation sessions; 2) a placebo condition involving an addition of three online progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) group sessions, or 3) a control condition where participants did not receive group sessions. Adherence was operationalised as number of OSA modules completed. Treatment adherence significantly differed between the conditions. On average, participants assigned to the placebo condition completed significantly more of the program compared to those in the control condition. Further, all conditions produced a significant improvement in BFNE and QOLS. No significant difference in treatment efficacy was found between groups on the SIAS, BFNE or QOLS. The current results indicate PMR can improve treatment adherence for scalable social anxiety interventions.
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