Treating adolescents with social anxiety disorder in school: an attention control trial
Article first published online: 21 MAR 2007
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 48, Issue 7, pages 676–686, July 2007
How to Cite
Masia Warner, C., Fisher, P. H., Shrout, P. E., Rathor, S. and Klein, R. G. (2007), Treating adolescents with social anxiety disorder in school: an attention control trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48: 676–686. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01737.x
- Issue published online: 21 MAR 2007
- Article first published online: 21 MAR 2007
- Manuscript accepted 11 December 2006
- Social anxiety;
- attention-control trial;
- school-based intervention;
- behavior therapy
Background: Anxiety disorders are often undetected and untreated in adolescents. This study evaluates the relative efficacy of a school-based, cognitive-behavioral intervention compared to an educational-supportive treatment for adolescents with social anxiety disorder.
Methods: Thirty-six students (30 females), ages 14 to 16, were randomized to a 12-week specific intervention, Skills for Social and Academic Success (SASS), or a credible attention control matched for structure and contact, conducted in school.
Results: Independent evaluations and adolescent self-reports indicated significant reduction in social anxiety for SASS compared to the control group. Parent reports of their children's social anxiety did not discriminate between treatments. In the specific intervention, 59%, compared to 0% in the control, no longer met criteria for social anxiety disorder following treatment. Superiority of the SASS intervention was maintained 6 months after treatment cessation.
Conclusions: The study provides evidence that intervention for social anxiety disorder that emphasizes exposure and social skills is efficacious. Results indicate that clinical improvement is sustained for at least 6 months, and that, overall, adolescents with social anxiety disorder do not respond to non-specific treatment. This investigation has public health implications by demonstrating that effective interventions can be transported to nonclinical settings.