Can a one-weekend group therapy reduce fear of blushing? Results of an open trial

  • Chaker S
  • Hofmann S
  • Hoyer J
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Abstract

Fear of blushing is a specific syndrome generally subsumed under the diagnostic category of social anxiety disorder (SAD). This study aims at gathering preliminary data about an intensive weekend intervention specifically designed for individuals with fear of blushing as the predominant complaint. Treatment consisted of a combination of attention training and behavioral therapy. Thirty-one blushing-fearful individuals meeting the criteria for SAD following the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV) were treated in three groups. The study was conducted as an open trial. Full assessments were performed before treatment, six weeks after treatment, and at six-month follow-up. Only fear of blushing, the main outcome criterion, was assessed immediately before and after the treatment weekend. The intensive therapy program was well accepted. Fear of blushing and SAD were significantly reduced and reductions remained stable. At follow-up, nearly two-thirds of the participants achieved significant changes in fear of blushing. Despite the preliminary nature of this study, the condensed format of weekend therapy for treating fear of blushing calls for further investigation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Attention training
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Erythrophobia
  • Fear of blushing
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Social phobia

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