Identifying Markers of Social Anxiety Disorder and How They Change Following Successful Cognitive-Behavioural Treatment

Summary

Social Anxiety Disorder is one of the most-common mental health problems in young people and we conceptualise it as a gateway disorder that substantially increases risk for chronic and persistent mental ill health over the course of a lifetime. This research focuses on using fear-conditioning, cognitive attention tasks, decision making, hormonal and autonomic measures from young patients with Social Anxiety Disorder to determine how these markers change over the course of cognitive-behavioural treatment programs and are unique to the development of Social Anxiety Disorder.

Supervisor(s)

Associate Professor Adam Guastella

Research Location

Brain and Mind Research Institute

Program Type

PHD

Synopsis

This research focuses on using fear-conditioning, cognitive attention tasks, decision making, hormonal and autonomic measures from young patients with Social Anxiety Disorder to determine how these markers change over the course of cognitive-behavioural treatment programs and are unique to the development of Social Anxiety Disorder. The PhD project could focus on one test (e.g., attention to threat; fear-conditioning; eye-tracking) or multiple tests as markers, depending on student interest. Social Anxiety Disorder is one of the most-common mental health problems in young people and we conceptualise it as a gateway disorder that substantially increases risk for chronic and persistent mental ill health over the course of a lifetime. This project will, therefore, substantially advance our knowledge of what marks the disorder in young people and how these markers change following successful treatment. This research opportunity must be considered in the context of the anxiety service at the BMRI. The student will be involved in assessment and treatment components of the anxiety service and it currently provides treatment to over 100 young people with social anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder each year. We use a wide variety of neuroscience technology (e.g., Genotyping, PET, EEG, Chronobiology, eye-tracking) with a multi-disciplinary team of neuroscientists, neurologists, psychiatrists, general practitioners, clinical psychologists, nurses, social and youth workers to facilitate the development of research and psychobiological treatment approaches. This base provides a unique environment to conduct trials that have real community relevance while also integrating a range of potential neurobiological assessments/interventions.

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Keywords

social anxiety disorder, mental health, Cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1211

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