Changes of attachment characteristics during psychotherapy of patients with social anxiety disorder : results from the SOPHO-Net trial

  • Objectives: Within a randomized controlled trial contrasting the outcome of manualized cognitive-behavioral (CBT) and short term psychodynamic therapy (PDT) compared to a waiting list condition (the SOPHO-Net trial), we set out to test whether self-reported attachment characteristics change during the treatments and if these changes differ between treatments. Research design and methods: 495 patients from the SOPHO-Net trial (54.5% female, mean age 35.2 years) who were randomized to either CBT, PDT or waiting list (WL) completed the partner-related revised Experiences in Close Relationships Questionnaire (ECR-R) before and after treatment and at 6 and 12 months follow-up. The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) was administered at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and at 6-month and 1-year follow-up. ECR-R scores were first compared to a representative healthy sample (n = 2508) in order to demonstrate that the clinical sample differed significantly from the non-clinical sample with respect to attachment anxiety and avoidance. Results: LSAS scores correlated significantly with both ECR-R subscales. Post-therapy, patients treated with CBT revealed significant changes in attachment anxiety and avoidance whereas patients treated with PDT showed no significant changes. Changes between post-treatment and the two follow-ups were significant in both conditions, with minimal (insignificant) differences between treatments at the 12- month follow-up. Conclusions: The current study supports recent reviews of mostly naturalistic studies indicating changes in attachment as a result of psychotherapy. Although there were differences between conditions at the end of treatment, these largely disappeared during the follow-up period which is line with the other results of the SOPHO-NET trial. Trial registration: ISRCTN53517394

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Author:Bernhard Strauß, Uwe Altmann, Susanne Manes, Anne Tholl, Susan Koranyi, Tobias Nolte, Manfred Beutel, Jörg Wiltin, Stephan Herpertz, Wolfgang Hiller, Jürgen Hoyer, Peter Joraschky, Björn Nolting, Viktoria Ritter, Ulrich StangierORCiDGND, Ulrike Willutzki, Simone Salzer, Eric Leibing, Falk Leichsenring, Helmut Kirchmann
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):PLoS one
Place of publication:Lawrence, Kan.
Contributor(s):Ethan Moitra
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/03/08
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/03/13
Tag:Anxiety; Anxiety disorders; Interpersonal relationships; Mental health therapies; Patients; Psychometrics; Psychotherapy; Questionnaires
Issue:(3): e0192802
Page Number:13
First Page:1
Last Page:13
opyright: © 2018 Strauß et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0