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One-session computer-based exposure treatment for spider-fearful individuals - Efficacy of a minimal self-help intervention in a randomised controlled trial

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Basel, Missionsstrasse 60/62, CH-4055 Basel, Switzerland.
Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.23). 06/2011; 42(2):179-84. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2010.12.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Computer-based self-help treatments have been proposed to provide greater access to treatment while requiring minimum input from a therapist. The authors employed a randomised controlled trial to investigate the efficacy of one-session computer-based exposure (CBE) as a self-help treatment for spider-fearful individuals. Spider-fearful participants in a CBE group underwent one 27-min session of standardised exposure to nine fear-eliciting spider pictures. Treatment outcome was compared to spider-fearful control participants exposed to nine neutral pictures. Fear reduction was quantified on a subjective level by the Fear of Spiders Questionnaire (FSQ) and complemented with a behavioural approach test (BAT). Results demonstrate that compared to control participants, CBE participants showed greater fear reduction from pre- to posttreatment on both the subjective level (FSQ) and the behavioural level (BAT). Moreover, in contrast to the control group, the obtained subjective fear reduction effect remained stable in the CBE group at 1-month follow-up. These findings highlight the role of computer-based self-help as a minimal but effective intervention to reduce fear of spiders.

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