Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is one of the most commonmental disorders worldwide. In Hong Kong, the 12-month prevalence of SAD is 3.2% (Lee,Lee & Kwok, 2005) with more than 230,000 sufferers. People with SAD often exhibit socialavoidance, strong anxiety, distress and physical symptoms, which may have negative impactson their mental health and quality of life. However, only 8.7% of SAD sufferers have soughtmedical treatment in Hong Kong (Lee et al., 2005), which means that most of the sufferers areundiagnosed and untreated. One of the most effective treatments for SAD is cognitivebehavioral therapy (CBT), and internet-based CBT has shown promise in reducing generaland social anxieties, as well as improving the quality of life of those with SAD (e.g. Carlbringet al., 2007; Tillfors et al., 2011). While widely utilized in North America and North Europe,internet intervention is underdeveloped in Hong Kong.
The objectives of this proposed project are therefore to develop an online CBT program(including both an online platform and mobile application) for Hong Kong people with SAD,as well as evaluate its effectiveness in reducing anxiety symptoms and psychological distress,and improving quality of life at post-treatment and 3- and 6-month follow-ups. This projectalso aims to test the predictive effects of sociodemographic factors on the treatment effects.
This project is supported by the Research Grants Council Research Impact Fund (RIF), Hong Kong SAR, China (Project R2018-18).
For further information on this research topic, please contact Dr. Jiayan PAN.