A Controlled Study to Assess the Effects of Self-Administered Cognitive Therapy On Social-Evaluative Anxiety, State-Trait Anxiety, and Locus of Control

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kenneth U. Gutsch

Advisor Department



This study investigated the efficacy of self-administered cognitive therapy (RET) in the treatment of high and chronic social anxiety. Forty-five socially anxious volunteer students, who scored in the upper 15% of 570 students prescreened with the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale, were matched on SAD scores and randomly assigned to self-administered cognitive therapy (RET), a self-administered attention placebo condition (Logotherapy), or a no-treatment control condition. Pretest and posttest measures included the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale (SAD), Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (FNE), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Rotter's Internal-External Locus of Control Scale. Analysis of variance and a priori t-test comparisons indicated that self-administered cognitive therapy significantly decreased social anxiety and fear of negative evaluation when compared to an attention placebo and no-treatment control condition. A priori t-comparisons also suggested a generalization of effects as trait anxiety significantly decreased when compared to the no-treatment control group. A decrease in state anxiety approached significance. In addition, comparisons of mean change scores with therapist-administered studies using the SADS and FNES appear favorable and lend support to the conclusion that self-administered cognitive restructuring is an effective means of decreasing social-evaluative anxiety. Results did not reveal a significant change in I-E locus of control, but a trend towards becoming more internally oriented was noted. The LOGO group did not significantly differ from the no-treatment control group; however, mean change scores suggest that participants may have attained therapeutic benefits as a consistent trend towards decreased anxiety across variables was evident. Implications of these results and recommendations concerning self-administered cognitive therapy are discussed.