Virtual reality cognitive-behavior therapy for public speaking anxiety: One-year follow-up

Marilyn P. Safir, Helene S. Wallach, Margalit Bar-Zvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Public speaking anxiety (PSA) is a common social phobia. Although cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice, difficulties arise with both in vivo and in vitro exposure (lack of therapist control, patient's inability to imagine, self-flooding, and a lack of confidentiality resulting from public exposure). Virtual reality CBT (VRCBT) enables a high degree of therapist control, thus overcoming these difficulties. In a previous publication, the authors reported on their findings that VRCBT (n = 28) and CBT (n = 30) groups were significantly more effective than a wait-list control (WLC; n = 30) group in anxiety reduction on four of five anxiety measures as well as on participant's self-rating of anxiety during a behavioral task. No significant differences were found between VRCBT and CBT. However, twice as many clients dropped out of CBT (15) than from VRCBT (6). Results demonstrated that VRCBT is an effective and brief treatment regimen, equal to CBT. This brief report examined durability of these changes. They found that both VRCBT (25) and CBT (24) groups maintained their improvement from post treatment to follow-up, on all five measures. In addition, they found that the CBT group continued to improve from post treatment to follow-up on Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) fear. Thus, treatment gains were maintained at a 1-year follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-246
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Modification
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research project was made possible by the aid of a generous research grant by the chief scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Health # 4731.


  • cognitive-behavior therapy
  • phobia
  • public speaking anxiety
  • social phobia
  • virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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