Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 261–272 | Cite as

Maladaptive Self-Beliefs During Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder: A Test of Temporal Precedence

  • Bree Gregory
  • Quincy J. J. Wong
  • Craig D. Marker
  • Lorna Peters
Original Article


Given the putative importance of maladaptive self-beliefs in cognitive models of social anxiety, there is growing interest in the construct’s influence on social anxiety reduction in treatment. The present study sought to examine whether maladaptive self-beliefs reduce over a 12-week course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD), and whether change in self-beliefs is an indicator of later change in social anxiety symptom severity within treatment. Participants were 77 individuals with SAD who completed measures of maladaptive self-beliefs every 2 weeks of the treatment protocol and measures of social anxiety each week. Using a dynamic bivariate latent difference score framework, results indicated that maladaptive self-beliefs reduced during CBT for SAD, and that change in maladaptive self-beliefs was a significant predictor of later change in social anxiety symptom severity. Reductions in social anxiety was not a significant predictor of later change in self-beliefs. Findings underscore the importance of maladaptive self-beliefs in the maintenance of social anxiety and in treatment for SAD. Moreover, they permit inferences about the temporal sequence of change processes in therapy and are consistent with CBT therapeutic models suggesting that cognitive change precedes symptom change.


Self-beliefs Social anxiety disorder CBT Mechanisms of change Latent difference score 



This research was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Grant (NHMRC Project Grant 102411) awarded to Dr. Lorna Peters.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Bree Gregory, Quincy J. J. Wong, Craig D. Marker, Lorna Peters declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Research Involving with Human and Animal Standards

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bree Gregory
    • 1
  • Quincy J. J. Wong
    • 1
  • Craig D. Marker
    • 2
  • Lorna Peters
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Emotional Health, Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Anxiety Treatment Clinic, Department of PsychologyUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA

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