This paper presents the Social Phobia Psychotherapy Research Network. The research program encompasses a coordinated group of studies adopting a standard protocol and an agreed-on set of standardized measures for the assessment and treatment of social phobia (SP). In the central project (study A), a multicenter randomized controlled trial, refined models of manualized cognitive-behavioral therapy and manualized short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy are compared in the treatment of SP. A sample of 512 outpatients will be randomized to either cognitive-behavioral therapy, short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy or waiting list. Assessments will be made at baseline, at the end of treatment and 6 and 12 months after the end of treatment. For quality assurance and treatment integrity, a specific project using highly elaborated measures has been established (project Q). Study A is complemented by 4 interrelated add-on projects focusing on attachment style (study B1), on cost-effectiveness (study B2), on variation in the serotonin transporter gene in SP (study C1) and on structural and functional deviations of the hippocampus and amygdala (study C2). Thus, the Social Phobia Psychotherapy Research Network program enables a highly interdisciplinary research into SP. The unique sample size achieved by the multicenter approach allows for studies of subgroups (e.g. comorbid disorders, isolated vs. generalized SP), of responders and nonresponders of each treatment approach, for generalization of results and for a sufficient power to detect differences between treatments. Psychological and biological parameters will be related to treatment outcome, and variables for differential treatment indication will be gained. Thus, the results provided by the network may have an important impact on the treatment of SP and on the development of treatment guidelines for SP.

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