Change in quality of life and their predictors in the long-term follow-up after group cognitive behavioural therapy for social anxiety disorder: A prospective cohort study
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Background : Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common anxiety disorders. The efficacy of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) has been examined but to date its effects on Quality of Life (QoL) have not been appropriately evaluated especially in the long term. The study aimed to examine, in the long term, what aspects of Quality of Life (QoL) changed among social anxiety disorder (SAD) patients treated with group cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and what predictors at baseline were associated with QoL. Methods : Outpatients diagnosed with SAD were enrolled into group CBT, and assessed at follow-ups for up to 12 months in a typical clinical setting. QoL was evaluated using the Short Form 36. Various aspects of SAD symptomatology were also assessed. Each of the QoL domains and scores on symptomatology were quantified and compared with those at baseline. Baseline predictors of QoL outcomes at follow-up were investigated. Results : Fifty-seven outpatients were enrolled into group CBT for SAD, 48 completed the whole program, and 44 and 40 completed assessments at the 3-month and 12-month follow-ups, respectively. All aspects of SAD symptomatology and psychological subscales of the QoL showed statistically significant improvement throughout follow-ups for up to 12 months. In terms of social functioning, no statistically significant improvement was observed at either follow-up point except for post-treatment. No consistently significant pre-treatment predictors were observed. Conclusions : After group CBT, SAD symptomatology and some aspects of QoL improved and this improvement was maintained for up to 12 months, but the social functioning domain did not prove any significant change statistically. Considering the limited effects of CBT on QoL, especially for social functioning, more powerful treatments are needed.