Safety behaviours in adolescent social anxiety

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology


Background: Social Anxiety Disorder (SoAD) in youth is often treated with a generic form of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Some studies have suggested primary SoAD is associated with lower recovery rates following generic CBT compared to other anxiety disorders.

Aims: This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated recovery rates following generic CBT for youth with primary SoAD versus other primary anxiety disorders.

Method: 5 databases (Psycinfo, Web of Science, PubMed, Embase, Medline) were searched forrandomised controlled trials of generic CBT for child and/or adolescent anxiety.

Results: 10 trials met criteria for inclusion in the systematic review, 6 of which presented sufficientdata for inclusion in the meta-analysis. 67 did not report data on recovery rates relative to primary diagnosis. The results of the systematic review were mixed. Across the trials included in the meta-analysis, the post-CBT recovery rate from primary SoAD(35%) was significantly lower than the recovery rate from other primary anxiety disorders (54%).

Conclusions: Recovery from primary SoAD is significantly less likely than recovery from any other primary anxiety disorder following generic CBT in youth. This suggests a need for research to enhance the efficacy of CBT for youth SoAD.
Date of Award1 Oct 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorEleanor Leigh (Supervisor) & David Clark (Supervisor)

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