Guided and unguided Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for social anxiety disorder and/or panic disorder provided via the Internet and a smartphone application: A randomized controlled trial

J Anxiety Disord. 2016 Dec:44:27-35. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2016.09.012. Epub 2016 Sep 30.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can be effective in treating anxiety disorders, yet there has been no study on Internet-delivered ACT for social anxiety disorder (SAD) and panic disorder (PD), nor any study investigating whether therapist guidance is superior to unguided self-help when supplemented with a smartphone application. In the current trial, n=152 participants diagnosed with SAD and/or PD were randomized to therapist-guided or unguided treatment, or a waiting-list control group. Both treatment groups used an Internet-delivered ACT-based treatment program and a smartphone application. Outcome measures were self-rated general and social anxiety and panic symptoms. Treatment groups saw reduced general (d=0.39) and social anxiety (d=0.70), but not panic symptoms (d=0.05) compared to the waiting-list group, yet no differences in outcomes were observed between guided and unguided interventions. We conclude that Internet-delivered ACT is appropriate for treating SAD and potentially PD. Smartphone applications may partially compensate for lack of therapist support.

Keywords: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; Anxiety disorders; Cognitive behavior therapy; Internet interventions; Therapist support; mHealth.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy / methods*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic Disorder / complications
  • Panic Disorder / psychology
  • Panic Disorder / therapy*
  • Phobia, Social / complications
  • Phobia, Social / psychology
  • Phobia, Social / therapy*
  • Self Care
  • Smartphone*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult