Objective: To determine the efficacy of fluoxetine, pill placebo, and Social Effectiveness Therapy for Children (SET-C) for children and adolescents with social phobia.
Method: Youths ages 7 to 17 were randomly assigned to one of the treatment conditions. Outcome was evaluated using self-reports, parent ratings, independent evaluator ratings, and behavioral assessment.
Results: Both fluoxetine and SET-C were more efficacious than placebo in reducing social distress and behavioral avoidance and increasing general functioning. SET-C was superior to fluoxetine on each of these measures and was the only treatment superior to placebo in terms of improving social skills, decreasing anxiety in specific social interactions, and enhancing ratings of social competence. Furthermore, whereas fluoxetine appears to exert maximum effect by 8 weeks, SET-C provides continued improvement through week 12.
Conclusions: Both fluoxetine and SET-C are efficacious for social phobia, although SET-C appears to provide added benefit by enhancing social skills.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00043537.