Intensive Group-Based CBT for Child Social Phobia: A Pilot Study

Donovan, Caroline L, Cobham, Vanessa, Waters, Allison M and Occhipinti, Stefano (2015) Intensive Group-Based CBT for Child Social Phobia: A Pilot Study. Behavior Therapy, 46 3: 350-364. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2014.12.005

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Author Donovan, Caroline L
Cobham, Vanessa
Waters, Allison M
Occhipinti, Stefano
Title Intensive Group-Based CBT for Child Social Phobia: A Pilot Study
Journal name Behavior Therapy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1878-1888
Publication date 2015-05
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.beth.2014.12.005
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 46
Issue 3
Start page 350
End page 364
Total pages 15
Place of publication New York, United States
Publisher Elsevier Inc
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract

Although CBT has proven efficacious in the treatment of child social phobia (SP), most children do not present for treatment and child SP may be less responsive to treatment than other anxiety disorders. Intensive, group-based, SP-specific CBT may improve the efficacy of, and access to, treatment for child SP. The aim of this study was to provide a preliminary examination of such a program.


Forty Australian children aged 7–12 years (15 male and 25 female) were allocated into treatment and waitlist groups. Clinical interviews to determine diagnostic status were conducted prior to treatment, following treatment and at 6-month follow-up. Parent and child questionnaire measures of child anxiety symptoms, internalizing symptoms, depression, social skills, social competence, and parental social anxiety were administered at the same time points. Treatment was delivered in 4 separate 3-hour sessions conducted over 3 consecutive weekends.


At postassessment, 52.4% of children in the treatment group and 15.8% of children in the waitlist group were free of their SP diagnosis. At postassessment, compared to waitlist children, treatment group children demonstrated a greater drop in clinical severity, a greater increase in overall functioning, and held fewer clinical diagnoses. Treatment group children also reported a greater reduction in SP symptoms compared to waitlist children, and treatment group parents reported a greater reduction in child internalizing and anxiety symptoms, a greater increase in child social competence, and a greater decrease in parental SP symptoms, compared to parents of children in the waitlist group. By 6-month follow-up, 76.9% of the treatment group were free of their SP diagnosis and gains on all other measures were maintained.


The results of this study are encouraging, and suggest that brief, intensive, group CBT for children with social anxiety is beneficial for many youngsters.
Keyword Child psychopathology
Social phobia
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ)
Official 2016 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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