Abstract

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a debilitating condition, and it is estimated that approximately half of adults who stutter have SAD. Thus, there is a need for the assessment and treatment of SAD in this population. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown promise in decreasing anxiety symptoms among adults who stutter and have SAD, but exposure, the key ingredient for successful CBT for SAD, has been understudied and underemphasized. The aims of this study were to develop an exposure therapy protocol specifically for people who stutter and have SAD and to evaluate its efficacy for reducing anxiety and stuttering severity. Utilizing a multiple baseline design, six participants were randomized to receive zero, two, or four sessions of progressive muscle relaxation therapy. This served to establish the staggered start and to account for the common factors of therapy. All participants received ten sessions of exposure therapy. Participants recorded daily social anxiety levels, and anxiety and stuttering severity were assessed at major assessment points. All participants demonstrated substantial reductions in social anxiety and substantial improvements in the affective, behavioral, and cognitive experiences of stuttering following exposure therapy. No reliable change was observed for stuttering frequency. Results suggest that exposure therapy may be useful for people who stutter and have SAD, but will not necessarily influence their speech fluency. These findings underscore the importance of the assessment and treatment of SAD among adults who stutter and suggest that the integration of care between psychologists and speech-language pathologists may prove beneficial for this population.

Graduation Date

2017

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Beidel, Deborah

Degree

Master of Science (M.S.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Psychology

Degree Program

Psychology Clinical

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0006914

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0006914

Language

English

Release Date

December 2018

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)

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