Internet-based interpretation bias modification for social anxiety: A pilot study

Brettschneider, Mona; Neumann, Pauline; Berger, Thomas; Renneberg, Babette; Boettcher, Johanna (2015). Internet-based interpretation bias modification for social anxiety: A pilot study. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 49(A), pp. 21-29. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jbtep.2015.04.008

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The biased interpretation of ambiguous social situations is considered a maintaining factor of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Studies on the modification of interpretation bias have shown promising results in laboratory settings. The present study aims at pilot-testing an Internet-based training that targets interpretation and judgmental bias.
METHOD: Thirty-nine individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for SAD participated in an 8-week, unguided program. Participants were presented with ambiguous social situations, were asked to choose between neutral, positive, and negative interpretations, and were required to evaluate costs of potential negative outcomes. Participants received elaborate automated feedback on their interpretations and judgments.
RESULTS: There was a pre-to-post-reduction of the targeted cognitive processing biases (d = 0.57-0.77) and of social anxiety symptoms (d = 0.87). Furthermore, results showed changes in depression and general psychopathology (d = 0.47-0.75). Decreases in cognitive biases and symptom changes did not correlate. The results held stable accounting for drop-outs (26%) and over a 6-week follow-up period. Forty-five percent of the completer sample showed clinical significant change and almost half of the participants (48%) no longer met diagnostic criteria for SAD.
LIMITATIONS: As the study lacks a control group, results lend only preliminary support to the efficacy of the intervention. Furthermore, the mechanism of change remained unclear.
CONCLUSION: First results promise a beneficial effect of the program for SAD patients. The treatment proved to be feasible and acceptable. Future research should evaluate the intervention in a randomized-controlled setting.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Berger, Thomas


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Adriana Biaggi

Date Deposited:

02 May 2016 17:01

Last Modified:

02 May 2016 17:01

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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