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November 14, 2011
A recent study published in Behavior Therapy found a CBT-oriented DVD-based self-help program (SHP), to be a potential treatment option for those with nonclinical degrees of social anxiety. Social anxiety disorder is described as a constant fear of particular social or performance situations coupled with acting in an embarrassing manner in those situations. The current study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of CBT-oriented DVD-based SHP supplemented by therapeutic assistance. The participants in the current study suffered from subthreshold social anxiety, which if not treated could evolve into social anxiety disorder as diagnosed in the DSM-IV. Participants had access to therapists via phone, email, or in-person sessions, in addition to the SHP. Following several self-report questionnaires and an interview, twenty-four participants were selected to participate in the study. Twelve participants were assigned to the control group and were placed on a wait-list while the remaining twelve were given the SHP. Both groups completed self-report measures before and after the intervention. The experimental group underwent an eight-week trial program during which time they viewed guided lessons and were subsequently given homework assignments (e.g., approaching a stranger and asking for the time.) Participants then emailed their therapist a summary of their homework assignment. This helped researchers ensure that participants were truly completing the program and understanding the material presented to them. Results demonstrated that participants in the experimental group showed improvement in their scores on the self-report assessments. Out of the twelve participants in the experimental group, only one withdrew during the eight-week session for unknown reasons. This low attrition rate may suggest that the program was well-received. The researchers concluded that CBT-oriented DVD-based SHPs supplemented by therapeutic assistance could benefit those with social anxiety symptoms.

Mall, A.K., et al. (2011). Evaluation of a DVD-based self-help program in highly socially anxious individuals—Pilot study. Behavior Therapy, 42, 439-448.