A study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (P&P) has examined the value of different treatment strategies in adolescents with problems communicating and social anxiety.
Very few studies have investigated the effects of individual disorder-specific treatment of social phobia (SP) in adolescents. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of individual cognitive therapy for SP, group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBTG) and attentional placebo (AP) among adolescents with a primary diagnosis of SP. A randomized controlled design was used, and a total of 279 adolescents were assessed. Fifty-seven adolescents, between 13 and 16 years old, were allocated to individual cognitive therapy, CBTG or AP.
The participants were assessed before treatment, at the end of treatment and at a 12-month follow-up using both self-report and a semi-structured interview. The individual cognitive therapy showed significant reductions in symptoms, impairment and diagnostic criteria both at the end of treatment and at the 12-month follow-up.
Compared with CBTG and AP, the individual cognitive therapy group demonstrated significantly greater effects on both symptom reduction and impairment. There were no significant differences between CBTG and AP. In a direct comparison between the most commonly used treatments for adolescent SP, results showed that individual therapy was the most effective, yielding better effects than both CBTG and AP.