Cognitive therapy for depressed adults with comorbid social phobia

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21 Scopus citations


Background: Evidence suggests that comorbid depression influences the outcome of cognitive-behavioral treatment for patients presenting with social phobia. Little is known, however, about the influence of comorbid social phobia on the response to cognitive therapy (CT) for depression among adults presenting with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD). These analyses seek to clarify this relationship. Methods: Patients (N = 156) with recurrent DSM-IV MDD entered CT (20% also met DSM-IV criteria for social phobia). Every week during the course of CT, clinicians assessed depressive symptoms and patients completed self-report instruments measuring severity of depression and anxiety. Results: At presentation, outpatients with comorbid social phobia reported greater levels of depressive symptoms and clinicians rated their impairment as more severe, compared to their counterparts without social phobia. Patients with or without comorbid social phobia did not differ significantly in (1) attrition rates; (2) response or sustained remission rates; (3) time to response or sustained remission; or (4) rate of improvement in symptoms of depression or anxiety. Limitations: The lack of domain-specific measures limits inference with respect to the improvements in social anxiety that occur with CT of depression. Conclusions: These findings introduce the hypothesis that CT for depression may be flexible enough to treat the depressive symptoms of patients presenting with MDD who also suffer from social phobia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of affective disorders
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Cognitive therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Social phobia
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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