Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Michael J. Constantino

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


Although patients’ psychotherapy outcome expectations correlate with posttreatment outcome, there is limited research explicating treatment elements that causally influence these expectations. Most relevant studies have focused on varied deliveries of a treatment rationale. Although elements of rationale delivery appear important for altering patients’ expectations, many studies have been marked by methodological shortcomings, such as lack of a control group. In this clinical analogue experiment, I examined the influence of expectancy persuasion methods, delivered in a video-based presentation of a cognitive-behavioral treatment rationale for social anxiety, on analogue patients’ post-rationale treatment beliefs, treatment motivation, social anxiety symptoms, and therapeutic action. One hundred and seventy-eight undergraduates screened for elevated social anxiety, and matched for sex and treatment history, were randomized to the experimental (rationale plus expectancy persuasion video) or comparison (rationale only video) group. Consistent with my hypotheses, there were significant increases across both groups in anxiety change expectations, perceived confidence in using CBT exposure techniques to address social anxiety, and perceived helpfulness of exposure techniques. Counter to my predictions, no other effects of time, group, or their interaction emerged for the various dependent variables. Additionally, exploration of socioeconomic status, conceptualization of social anxiety, and initial anxiety change expectations as potential moderators of group effects on the dependent variables revealed no significant findings. The results underscore the clinical importance of delivering a clear treatment rationale; however, they also suggest that the specific methods for persuading patients’ treatment beliefs and activities may have lacked sufficient potency to augment the effects of general rationale delivery.