This meta-analysis investigated the efficacy of technology-assisted interventions for individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD). A systematic literature search in the databases Medline, PsychInfo, and Web of Science revealed 37 randomized controlled trials (2991 participants) that were grouped into internet delivered cognitive behavior therapy (ICBT; 21 trials), virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET; 3 trials), and cognitive bias modification (CBM; 13 trials). Patients undergoing ICBT and VRET showed significantly less SAD symptoms at postassessment than passive control conditions (g=0.84 and 0.82, respectively). Compared to active control conditions, ICBT had a small advantage (g=0.38) and VRET showed comparable effects (p>0.05). CBM was not more effective than passive control conditions, except when delivered in the laboratory (g=0.35). While the efficacy of CBM was limited, substantial evidence for ICBT and preliminary evidence for VRET suggests that both can effectively reduce SAD symptoms indicating the potential of technology-assisted interventions for SAD.
Keywords: Cognitive bias modification; Internet cognitive behavior therapy; Social anxiety disorder; Virtual reality exposure.
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