The role of maladaptive beliefs in cognitive-behavioral therapy: Evidence from social anxiety disorder

Behav Res Ther. 2012 May;50(5):287-91. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2012.02.007. Epub 2012 Feb 28.


Beliefs that are negatively biased, inaccurate, and rigid are thought to play a key role in the mood and anxiety disorders. Our goal in this study was to examine whether a change in maladaptive beliefs mediated the outcome of individual cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD). In a sample of 47 individuals with SAD receiving CBT, we measured maladaptive interpersonal beliefs as well as emotional and behavioral components of social anxiety, both at baseline and after treatment completion. We found that (a) maladaptive interpersonal beliefs were associated with social anxiety at baseline and treatment completion; (b) maladaptive interpersonal beliefs were significantly reduced from baseline to treatment completion; and (c) treatment-related reductions in maladaptive interpersonal beliefs fully accounted for reductions in social anxiety after CBT. These results extend the literature by providing support for cognitive models of mental disorders, broadly, and SAD, specifically.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Treatment Outcome