Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Trials and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Guided and unguided CBT for social anxiety disorder and/or panic disorder via the Internet and a smartphone application: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Philip Lindner1, Ekaterina Ivanova2, Kien Hoa Ly3, Gerhard Andersson13 and Per Carlbring2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

2 Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

3 Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

For all author emails, please log on.

Trials 2013, 14:437  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-437

Published: 18 December 2013



Smartphone technology presents a novel and promising opportunity to extend the reach of psychotherapeutic interventions by moving selected parts of the therapy into the real-life situations causing distress. This randomised controlled trial will investigate the effects of a transdiagnostic, Internet-administered cognitive behavioural (iCBT) self-help program for anxiety, supplemented with a smartphone application. The effect of added therapist support will also be studied.


One hundred and fifty participants meeting diagnostic criteria for social anxiety disorder and/or panic disorder will be evenly randomised to either one of three study groups: 1, smartphone-supplemented iCBT with therapist support; 2, smartphone-supplemented iCBT without therapist support; or 3, an active waiting list control group with delayed treatment. Primary outcome measure will be the Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item self-rating scale. Secondary measures include other anxiety, depression and quality of life measures. In addition to pre- and post-treatment measurements, the study includes two mid-treatment (days 24 and 48) and two follow-up assessments (12 and 36 months) to assess rapid and long-term effects.


To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the effectiveness of smartphone-supplemented iCBT for anxiety disorders. Hence, the findings from this trial will constitute great advancements in the burgeoning and promising field of smartphone-administered psychological interventions. Limitations are discussed.

Trial registration NCT01963806

Smartphone; Application; App; Cognitive behavioural; Internet-administered; Anxiety; Randomised controlled trial