Cognitive restructuring in the treatment of social phobia. Efficacy and mode of action

Behav Modif. 1997 Oct;21(4):487-511. doi: 10.1177/01454455970214006.


Cognitive restructuring (CR) is commonly used to treat social phobia, although its contribution to treatment efficacy has not been established. CR requires the person to think about and discuss feared social events with his or her therapist and thus entails some degree of exposure to social stimuli. CR also is thought to enhance the efficacy of therapeutic exposure exercises (EXP). Four predictions were tested based on this model: Relative to a control intervention matched for the exposure inherent in CR, CR is more effective in (1) reducing social phobia, (2) reducing negative social cognitions, (3) increasing positive cognitions, and (4) enhancing the effects of subsequent EXP. People with generalized social phobia (N = 60) were randomly assigned to CR followed by EXP or to a control intervention followed by EXP. Support was found for predictions 1 to 3, but not 4.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Desensitization, Psychologic
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychotherapy, Group
  • Reality Testing
  • Treatment Outcome