eCite Digital Repository

Computer-Delivered Behavioural Avoidance Tests for Spider Phobia


Teng, TMC and Kirkby, KC and Martin, F and Gilroy, L and Daniels, BA, Computer-Delivered Behavioural Avoidance Tests for Spider Phobia, Behaviour Change, 21, (3) pp. 173-185. ISSN 0813-4839 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1375/bech.


Behavioural avoidance tests (BATs) are a cornerstone of objective assessment of phobias. However, live BATs have several disadvantages. They are practically difficult and time-consuming to set up and are not standardised. This study examined two computer-delivered BATs (using slide and video presentations of phobic stimuli respectively): first, in respect to their ability to discriminate fearfuls from nonfearfuls, and second, in terms of convergent validity with a live BAT and the Spider Phobia Questionnaire (SPQ). Sixty-four low (n = 32) and high (n = 32) spider-fearful undergraduate participants were administered the three BATs in counterbalanced order. Results showed that subjective anxiety on all BATs was highly discriminative of low and high spider-fearfuls. The number of steps completed did not discriminate between phobics and nonphobics on the computer BATs. However, there was good convergent validity between the live BAT, the SPQ and both computer-delivered BATs on subjective anxiety. Overall, the live BAT gives a clearer indication of avoidance behaviour while the video BAT assesses subjective anxiety across a wider range of steps. The development of computer-delivered BATs that reliably measure avoidance is necessary before contemplating them as an alternative to a live BAT.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Teng, TMC (Mr Tat Teng)
UTAS Author:Kirkby, KC (Professor Kenneth Kirkby)
UTAS Author:Martin, F (Associate Professor Frances Martin)
UTAS Author:Gilroy, L (Ms Lisa Gilroy)
UTAS Author:Daniels, BA (Dr Brett Daniels)
ID Code:31705
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Psychiatry
Deposited On:2004-08-01
Last Modified:2005-04-15

Repository Staff Only: item control page