Online Cognitive Behavioral Intervention Program for Hong Kong People With Social Anxiety Disorder

  • End date
    Jun 30, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Hong Kong Baptist University
Updated on 19 August 2021


This study developed an online counseling program called "EASE Online" for Hong Kong people with social anxiety disorder. The program effectiveness was evaluated by a randomized controlled trial in reducing social anxiety and improving quality of life of the participants. The 3- and 6-month maintenance effects were also tested.


Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is one of the most common mental disorders worldwide. In Hong Kong, the 12-month prevalence of SAD is 3.2% (Lee, Lee & Kwok, 2005) with more than 230,000 sufferers. However, only 8.7% of SAD sufferers have sought medical treatment in Hong Kong (Lee et al., 2005), which means that most of the sufferers are undiagnosed and untreated. One of the most effective treatments for SAD is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and internet-based CBT has shown promise in reducing general and social anxieties, as well as improving the quality of life of those with SAD (e.g. Carlbring et al., 2007; Tillfors et al., 2011). However, few studies have been conducted in this field in Hong Kong. This project aims to develop an online CBT program (including both an online platform and mobile application) for Hong Kong people with SAD, as well as evaluate its effectiveness in reducing anxiety symptoms and psychological distress, and improving quality of life at post-treatment and 3- and 6-month follow-ups. Randomized controlled trial (RCT) design was adopted for program evaluation.

Condition Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Phobia, Social, Social Phobia, Claustrophobia
Treatment Online cognitive behavioral therapy
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04995913
SponsorHong Kong Baptist University
Last Modified on19 August 2021


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Inclusion Criteria

Hong Kong residents with fluency in Cantonese
between the ages of 18 and 70
a score of 25 or more on the Chinese version of the Social Phobia Inventory (C-SPIN) (Tsai et al., 2009)
have not received any psychological treatment at the time of registration for participation in the project
have access to a computer or smartphone with internet connection

Exclusion Criteria

being severely depressed, with a score above 30 on the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) (Beck, Steer & Brown, 1996)
having suicidal ideation in the past three months, with a score of 3 points on Item 9 of the BDI-II
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