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States of mind model and cognitive change in treated social phobics

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The applicability of Schwartz and Garamoni's (1986, 1989) States of Mind (SOM) model for assessing the influence of cognitive—behavioral therapy on cognitive functioning was evaluated with social phobics. The SOM model states that a positive dialogue (i.e., a 2:1 ratio of positive to negative thoughts) is optimal for effective coping. Social phobics receiving either a cognitive—behavioral or educational—supportive group treatment were compared for SOM change, as were subjects meeting criteria for improvement or nonimprovement. Also the study compared the predictability of the SOM ratio with a ratio based on percent of negative thoughts. Subjects in both treatments evidenced negative monologue (i.e., a preponderance of negative thoughts) at pretreatment. A significant Treatment ×Time interaction showed that, although the groups did not differ at posttreatment, those in the cognitive treatment reached positive dialogue at a 6-month followup while the other group did not. Improvers also attained positive dialogue at followup while nonimprovers did not. The SOM and the negative thought ratios performed similarly in predicting most outcome measures, suggesting that neutral thoughts (the only distinction between the two) serve little function for persons with problems of social phobia.

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This study was supported by grants 38368 and 44119 from the National Institute of Mental Health to Richard G. Heimberg.

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Bruch, M.A., Heimberg, R.G. & Hope, D.A. States of mind model and cognitive change in treated social phobics. Cogn Ther Res 15, 429–441 (1991).

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