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Behav Modif. 2007 Sep;31(5):543-68.

Acceptance and commitment therapy for generalized social anxiety disorder: a pilot study.

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Brown Medical School and Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI 02905, USA.


Despite the demonstrated efficacy of cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD), many individuals do not respond to treatment or demonstrate residual symptoms and impairment posttreatment. Preliminary evidence indicates that acceptance-based approaches (e.g., acceptance and commitment therapy; ACT) can be helpful for a variety of disorders and emphasize exposure-based strategies and processes. Nineteen individuals diagnosed with SAD participated in a 12-week program integrating exposure therapy and ACT. Results revealed no changes across a 4-week baseline control period. From pretreatment to follow-up, significant improvements occurred in social anxiety symptoms and quality of life, yielding large effect size gains. Significant changes also were found in ACT-consistent process measures, and earlier changes in experiential avoidance predicted later changes in symptom severity. Results suggest the acceptability and potential efficacy of ACT for SAD and highlight the need for future research examining both the efficacy and mechanisms of change of acceptance-based programs for SAD.

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