Category: Adult Anxiety - Social
There are many barriers to the delivery of treatment for social anxiety, including geographical location, cost, and stigma, and these barriers often affect the ability to reach diverse populations. Self-help may address some of these factors but there is limited research on the efficacy of self-help for many problems, including social anxiety. The purpose of the present research was to evaluate the efficacy of a mindfulness and acceptance-based self-help approach for the treatment of social anxiety. Individuals seeking help for social anxiety or shyness were recruited from the community. Participants (N = 117) were randomly assigned to a mindfulness and acceptance-based self-help book for social anxiety (n = 58) or a wait-list control condition (n = 59). Those in the book condition were asked to follow an eight-week plan contained within the book. Assessments occurred at baseline, eight weeks, and 12 weeks. Hierarchical linear modelling results supported the efficacy of the self-help book with between-group effect sizes on social anxiety outcomes ranging from .72 to .95. Significant change was also observed on other outcomes including self-compassion, mindfulness, acceptance, and depression. Some variables were assessed weekly for those in the book condition, including social anxiety and self-compassion. A bidirectional model was supported: change in self-compassion was associated with subsequent change in social anxiety, and change in social anxiety was associated with subsequent change in self-compassion. Overall these results support the use of a mindfulness and acceptance-based self-help approach for social anxiety, and also add to the growing research on the relevance of self-compassion in the treatment of social anxiety.