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The feasibility of using computer-based treatment for specific phobia ; A controlled comparison of computer-based vicarious exposure versus live exposure in the treatment of spider phobia

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Gilroy, Lisa (1999) The feasibility of using computer-based treatment for specific phobia ; A controlled comparison of computer-based vicarious exposure versus live exposure in the treatment of spider phobia. Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

LITERATURE REVIEW An important goal in clinical psychology is the development of safe, cost
effective, widely available treatment strategies. This review targets a particular
problem, specific phobia, as a reference point in exploring the feasibility of
using computers in delivering behavioural treatment for anxiety disorders.
This review summaries conventional treatment methods, and evaluates their
efficacy and availability. It addresses the advantages as well as the ethical
and technical limitations of the use of computers in delivering psychological
treatments and reviews current developments and outcome studies. It is
concluded that although computer-based treatments are still in their infancy,
significant advances have been made in establishing such strategies as an
effective, safe and efficient treatment for phobias. Further research to
establish computer-based behavioural treatment as a comparable alternative
to therapist-directed live exposure for phobias, will allow the efficacy of
computer-based treatment to be accurately weighed against the ethical
issues. EMPIRICAL STUDY The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of a computer-based
vicarious exposure treatment for spider phobia compared to the standard
treatment, therapist-directed live exposure. A total of 45 participants
diagnosed with specific phobia (spiders) were included in the study following
assessment. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three treatment
conditions: computer-based treatment, therapist-directed live exposure
treatment or a relaxation placebo treatment. Each treatment group received
three 45 minute sessions. Phobic symptomatology was measured at pre
treatment and post treatment and at a three month follow-up by the Spider
Questionnaire, Fear Questionnaire, Phobic Targets and Work Adjustment
Scale and a Behavioural Assessment Test. The results showed that the
computer-based treatment was an effective treatment for spider phobia and
comparable to therapist-directed live exposure, in producing a significant
improvement on all relevant measures of phobic symptomatology. Both the
computer-based and live exposure treatments were more effective than the
relaxation placebo treatment. The computer-based treatment required
substantially less therapist time than that of the live exposure treatment and
was rated by participants as a helpful and acceptable treatment. These
finding warrant the further development of the computer-based techniques in
treating phobic disorders.

Item Type: Thesis (Unspecified)
Keywords: Spiders, Phobias
Copyright Holders: The Author
Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Psych.)--University of Tasmania, 1999. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 00:04
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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