Self-focused attention and safety behaviors across group therapies for social anxiety disorder
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BACKGROUND: Self-focused attention (SFA) and safety behaviors are two variables implicated in the maintenance of social anxiety disorder (SAD). DESIGN: The present study examined SFA and safety behaviors across two therapies for SAD, cognitive behavioral group therapy (CBGT) and mindfulness and acceptance-based group therapy (MAGT). METHOD: Participants with symptoms meeting criteria for SAD (N = 137) were randomly assigned to the 12-week-treatment groups (n = 53 for each condition) or a waitlist control (n = 31). Variables were assessed at baseline, midtreatment, posttreatment, and a 3-month follow-up. RESULTS: Both treatment conditions reported significantly lower SFA and safety behaviors compared to control, but did not differ from one another at posttreatment. Mediation analyses supported the following models: (1) safety behaviors mediating the relationship between SFA and social anxiety, and (2) SFA mediating the relationship between safety behaviors and social anxiety. These models were supported for both treatment groups. CONCLUSIONS: Both treatments may have the potential to reduce the SFA and safety behaviors that serve to maintain SAD.
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