Shyness 1: distance treatment of social phobia over the Internet

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2008 Jul;42(7):585-94. doi: 10.1080/00048670802119762.


Objective: The purpose of the present study was to examine the effectiveness of an Internet-based clinician-assisted computerized cognitive behavioural therapy programme for social phobia.

Method: A total of 105 individuals with social phobia were randomly assigned to a six-lesson cognitive behavioural treatment programme or to a waitlist control group. Treatment consisted of four components: six online lessons; homework assignments; participation in an online discussion forum; and regular email contact with a therapist. An intention-to-treat model was used for data analyses.

Results: A total of 78% of treatment group participants completed all lessons, and post-treatment data were obtained from 93/105 participants. Significant post-treatment differences between treatment and waitlist participants were found on two measures of symptoms of social phobia. Mean within- and between-group effect sizes (Cohen's d) for the primary social phobia outcome measures were 1.15, and 0.95, respectively.

Conclusions: These results were comparable with those obtained in exemplary face-to-face treatment programmes. They provide further positive data about the utility of Internet-based guided self-help programmes for people with common mental disorders.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Internet / instrumentation*
  • Male
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Shyness*