Effects of Stress on Exposure Therapy

R

Ruhr University of Bochum

Status

Completed

Conditions

Specific Phobia

Treatments

Other: Cold water condition
Other: Warm water condition

Study type

Interventional

Funder types

Other

Identifiers

NCT03505437
FP 1-2

Details and patient eligibility

About

This study investigates whether stress can augment exposure therapy outcome in patients with specific phobia (spider phobia).

Full description

Stress has been shown to modulate fear extinction. The present study is aimed at investigating whether stress (administered prior to exposure with the socially evaluated cold pressor test) augments exposure therapy outcome in patients with specific phobia (spider phobia). Furthermore, the effects of stress on the generalization of exposure-induced symptom reduction towards untreated fear stimuli (i.e. cockroaches) will be explored. Participants are randomly assigned to the cold or warm water condition of the socially evaluated cold pressor test (SECPT; Schwabe et al., 2008). Thereafter, participants of both conditions receive 45 minutes of in-vivo exposure to spiders. The effects of stress on exposure-based anxiety reductions toward spiders (treated fear stimulus) and cockroaches (untreated fear stimulus to assess generalization of treatment outcome) are assessed on the behavioral, subjective and physiological level at pretreatment, posttreatment (24 hours after exposure) and follow-up (4 weeks after exposure).

Enrollment

48 patients

Sex

Female

Ages

18 to 40 years old

Volunteers

No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Women using oral contraceptives (OC)
  • Specific phobia (spider phobia)

Exclusion criteria

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) < 19 or > 27
  • Pregnancy
  • Any acute or chronic mental, somatic, endocrine, or metabolic disease
  • Psychological, psychiatric, neurological or pharmacological treatment
  • Shift work
  • Smoking more than 5 cigarettes per month
  • Vaccination in the past 2 month
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

Trial design

Primary purpose

Other

Allocation

Randomized

Interventional model

Parallel Assignment

Masking

Single Blind

48 participants in 2 patient groups

Stress + Exposure
Experimental group
Description:
Stress Condition: Cold water condition of the socially evaluated cold pressor test (SECPT; Schwabe et al, 2008).
Treatment:
Other: Cold water condition
Control + Exposure
Active Comparator group
Description:
Control condition: Warm water condition of the SECPT.
Treatment:
Other: Warm water condition

Trial contacts and locations

1

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Data sourced from clinicaltrials.gov

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