Acceptance-based exposure therapy for public speaking anxiety

Printer-friendly version
APA Citation: 

England, E. L., Herbert, J. D., Forman, E. M., Rabin, S. J., Juarascio, A., & Goldstein, S. P. (2012). Acceptance-based exposure therapy for public speaking anxiety. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 1, 66-72.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
Other Third-Wave Therapies: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Article
Language: 
English
Abstract: 

Public speaking anxiety (PSA), diagnosed at clinical levels as social anxiety disorder, nongeneralized type, is associated with significant distress and impairment in a substantial portion of the population (Aderka et al., 2012). Empirically supported behavioral treatments for PSA generally include in vivo and/or simulated exposure, usually presented with some form of rationale or context (e.g., habituation). Newer acceptance-based therapies frame exposure as an opportunity to increase one's willingness to experience anxiety, while engaging in valued behaviors. The present study examined the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary effectiveness of acceptance-based exposure treatment for PSA compared to standard habituation-based exposure in a clinical population. Treatment was delivered in a group format over 6 weekly sessions. Participants receiving acceptance-based exposure (ABE) were significantly more likely than those receiving habituation-based exposure (HAB) to achieve diagnostic remission by 6-week follow-up. Those in the ABE condition rated this intervention equally acceptable and credible compared to participants receiving the habituation-based approach, and improvement on other outcome measures was comparable across conditions. Participants in both groups demonstrated significant and equivalent improvement on measures of public-speaking-related cognitions, confidence, and social skills. Baseline levels of mindful awareness moderated change in public-speaking-related cognitions across conditions, and baseline defusion moderated change in state anxiety for the ABE condition only.

To find the full text version of this article and others (as well as download a full text .pdf.), ACBS members can visit the ScienceDirect homepage here.