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Depress Anxiety. 2008;25(8):708-17. doi: 10.1002/da.20416.

Treating university students with social phobia and public speaking fears: Internet delivered self-help with or without live group exposure sessions.

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Department of Behavioural, Social and Legal Sciences, Orebro University, Orebro, Sweden.



This study investigated the efficacy of an Internet-based self-help program with minimal therapist contact via e-mail for Swedish university students with social phobia and public speaking fears. The main objective was to test if the Internet-based self-help program would be more effective if five live group exposure sessions were added.


Thirty-eight students meeting the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edition criteria for social phobia were randomized into two different treatment groups: Internet delivered cognitive behavior therapy combined with five group exposure sessions (ICBT+ exp) or the Internet program alone (ICBT).


Results were analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis. Both treatment groups showed significant improvement from pre- to post-test, and from pre-test to 1-year follow-up, on all measured dimensions (social anxiety, general anxiety, depression levels, and quality of life). For both the groups, the average within-group effect sizes for the primary social anxiety scales, expressed as Cohen's d, were comparable to those seen in traditionally administered cognitive behavioral therapy both at post-test and at 1- year follow-up.


The results suggest that the Internet-based self-help program on its own is efficient in the treatment of university students with social phobia. Adding group exposure sessions did not improve the outcome significantly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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