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August 27, 2012
According to a recent study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy, modifying maladaptive beliefs via cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can significantly reduce the severity of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) symptoms. In the current study, researchers sought to determine, specifically, whether belief modification via CBT mediates treatment effects for SAD. Participants (47 adults) who met criteria for SAD were randomly assigned to either a CBT treatment condition (16 hour-long, weekly sessions of manualized CBT) or a waitlist control condition. Maladaptive interpersonal beliefs as well as the emotional and behavioral components of social anxiety were measured at baseline and post-treatment. Results showed that maladaptive beliefs were associated with SAD at baseline and post-treatment, that CBT significantly reduce those beliefs, and that reducing maladaptive beliefs accounted for reductions in social anxiety symptoms following CBT treatment.  These findings suggest that belief change is critical to effective CBT treatment for social anxiety disorder.

Boden, M. T., John, O. P., Goldin, P. R., Werner, K., Heimberg, R.G., & Gross, J. J. (2012). The role of maladaptive beliefs in cognitive-behavioral therapy: Evidence from social anxiety disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 50, 287-291.