Using the NEO-PI-R Personality Domains to Predict Success of Exposure Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder
Roth, Brittainy Rae
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AbstractSocial Anxiety Disorder is a common anxiety disorder that negatively affects individuals’ lives. The standard treatment for this anxiety disorder is exposure-based cognitive-behavioral therapy during which an individual’s anxiety is reduced by exposure to feared social situations in controlled settings. The aim of exposure is for the experience of social fear, without the feared outcome, to encode an extinction memory that what was once fearful no longer needs to be feared. However, clinicians do not find this approach effective for every case. Therefore, it is important to identify unique characteristics of individuals that may predict outcomes for the treatment in order to improve results. The Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience personality inventory revised (NEO-PI-R) assesses individuals in five domains, which include Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness. The current study aimed to investigate if there was a relationship between the NEO-PI-R personality domains and exposure therapy treatment outcomes in individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder. The study included thirty-two subjects with Social Anxiety Disorder, who participated in a 5-week exposure therapy treatment. Anxiety was measured using the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS). Participants completed the LSAS and NEO-PI-R before treatment. Hypothesis 1 was that individuals high in Extraversion would demonstrate the greatest improvement in LSAS scores. Hypothesis 2 was that individuals high in Neuroticism would demonstrate the least improvement in LSAS scores. The results supported Hypothesis 2 but not Hypothesis 1.
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