Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Chris Koronakos

Second Advisor

Dr. Mai Robertson

Third Advisor

Dr. Frederick Gault

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Thelma Urbick


The purpose of this clinical research was to determine whether spouse-supported treatment of agoraphobia would result in greater improvement on measures of exposure and avoidance than would individual treatment or no treatment. It was hypothesized that Couples Treatment subjects would demonstrate a significantly greater change from pretest to posttest than would Individual Treatment subjects or No-Treatment Control subjects. The study further predicted that significant improvements would be demonstrated for both treated groups on the same outcome measures, pretest to posttest and from pretest to follow-up.

Total N was 10 subjects, all were agoraphobic, married, and female, with 4 in Couples Treatment with spouses, 3 in Individual Treatment, and 3 in the No-Treatment control condition. Random assignment of subjects to conditions was precluded by preferences of some subjects to be accompanied by spouses, resulting in more severely agoraphobic subjects in Couples Treatment. Seven sessions of cognitive-behavior therapy were provided subjects in Couples and Individual Treatment, preceded by one assessment session (pretest), followed by posttest (ninth session), with follow-up assessment 2 weeks later, 10 sessions in all. Assessments of exposure were derived from subjects' reports of actual exposures; avoidance measures were based on self-report questionnaires.

Since sample characteristics did not meet assumptions on which between-group statistical analyses are based, between-group hypotheses could not be tested statistically. However, large differences between group means were found at posttest; the Couples Treatment condition manifested superior improvements on outcome measures over the Individual and No-Treatment control conditions. Within-group hypotheses were confirmed; both treated groups improved significantly from pretest to posttest and from pretest to follow-up. The No-Treatment Control group did not improve. Generalizing of results must be limited to married female agoraphobics in treatment for agoraphobia similar in characteristics to the subjects in the samples.

The present study confirmed that spouse-supported treatment of agoraphobia enhances cognitive-behavioral treatment of selected married agoraphobic clients which is in line with previous research and has heuristic value.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access