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Social Anxiety and Emotion Regulation in Daily Life: Spillover Effects on Positive and Negative Social Events

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Social Anxiety and Emotion Regulation in Daily Life: Spillover Effects on Positive and Negative Social Events

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To minimize the possibility of scrutiny, people with social anxiety difficulties exert great effort to manage their emotions, particularly during social interactions. We examined how the use of two emotion regulation strategies, emotion suppression and cognitive reappraisal, predict the generation of emotions and social events in daily life. Over 14 consecutive days, 89 participants completed daily diary entries on emotions, positive and negative social events, and their regulation of emotions. Using multilevel modeling, we found that when people high in social anxiety relied more on positive emotion suppression, they reported fewer positive social events and less positive emotion on the subsequent day. In contrast, people low in social anxiety reported fewer negative social events on days subsequent to using cognitive reappraisal to reduce distress; the use of cognitive reappraisal did not influence the daily lives of people high in social anxiety. Our findings support theories of emotion regulation difficulties associated with social anxiety. In particular, for people high in social anxiety, maladaptive strategy use contributed to diminished reward responsiveness.
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... Other research emphasizes cognitive-behavioural factors such as maladaptive emotion regulation strategies (Farmer & Kashdan, 2012;Kashdan et al., 2013), experiential avoidance (Kashdan et al., 2013;Kashdan & Breen, 2008;Kashdan & Steger, 2006;Rodebaugh & Shumaker, 2012), and excessive use of maladaptive self-regulation strategies during social interaction (Kashdan et al., 2011;Rodebaugh & Heimberg, 2008). Studies supporting this view have shown that people with SAD are motivated to suppress displays of emotion and conceal other aspects of themselves that they worry others might evaluate negatively (Moscovitch et al., 2013), resulting in the potential depletion of cognitive resources required to benefit from positive social experiences (see Morrison & Heimberg, 2013). ...
... Daily diary and experience-sampling measures in studies using ecological momentary analysis have advanced our field by enabling researchers to examine PA over time as it changes in response to evolving contexts within participants' every-day lives (e.g., Farmer & Kashdan, 2012;Goodman et al., 2021;Kashdan & Collins, 2010;Oren-Yagoda & Aderka, 2021). However, these approaches are not without their own limitations. ...
... A significant proportion of previous research on PA deficits in SA has relied on trait measures of affect (e.g., Brown et al., 1998;Kashdan & Breen, 2008), or longer-time periods such as "the past week" or "the past few days" (e.g., Alden & Trew, 2013;Taylor et al., 2017). Daily diary research has often relied on end-of-day affect ratings (e.g., Farmer & Kashdan, 2012;Kashdan & Steger, 2006). Other research that assessed in-the-moment state PA did so in the context of anxiety-inducing tasks such as before meeting a new person (e.g., Barber et al., 2021;Trew & Alden, 2012) or an impromptu speech (e.g., Rodebaugh & Shumaker, 2012), or throughout a conversation with a stranger. ...
Article
Prior research has shown that Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is associated with significantly diminished positive affect (PA). Few studies have examined PA reactivity to pleasant experimental stimuli in individuals with SAD and whether emotional responses might be moderated by social context. Here, we investigated repeated measures of PA reactivity among individuals with SAD (n = 46) and healthy controls (HC; n = 39) in response to standardized neutral images, pleasant music, and social versus nonsocial guided imagery. Primary analyses revealed that SAD and HC participants did not differ in their PA reactivity when PA was conceptualized as a unitary construct. Exploratory analyses examining discrete subfacets of PA revealed potential deficits for SAD participants in relaxed and content PA, but not activated PA. Although participants with SAD reported relatively lower levels of relaxed and content PA overall compared with controls, they exhibited normal increases in all PA subfacets in response to pleasant music as well as pleasant social and nonsocial stimuli. These findings support a more nuanced conclusion about PA deficits in SAD than is described in the extant literature, suggesting that detecting PA deficits in SAD may depend upon how PA is conceptualized, evoked, and measured. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... Low CR conveys stronger risk for depression in individuals with SAD than in healthy controls (D'Avanzato et al., 2013). The combination of ES with social anxiety has been linked to subsequent low positive affect (Farmer & Kashdan, 2012;Kashdan & Breen, 2008), a key feature of depression. On the basis of such evidence, Dryman & Heimberg (2018) proposed that SAD/MDD comorbidity may result from less CR and more ES. ...
... Our results add support for the benefits of CR in conveying resilience against depression in those with social anxiety (D'Avanzato et al., 2013). The benefit of ES at low levels of CR in our data is unexpected in the context of prior studies that have mostly found ES to be maladaptive, such as studies that have shown ES to strengthen the association of social anxiety with less positive mood (Farmer & Kashdan, 2012;Kashdan & Breen, 2008;Kashdan & Steger, 2006) and lower life satisfaction (Jazaieri et al., 2017). Although our findings do not indicate an adaptive outcome of ES, they do suggest that ES weakens the association of social anxiety and depression when CR is low. ...
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Comorbidity of social anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder is common and bears a worse prognosis than either disorder alone. Emotion regulation strategies, such as cognitive reappraisal (CR), expressive suppression (ES), and their interaction may impact the association of social anxiety with depression symptoms. Path analysis was used to examine how CR and ES may interact to predict the association of social anxiety with depression in a large, multi-university sample (N = 9,750). There was a three-way interaction of CR, ES, and social anxiety predicting depression. CR weakened the association of social anxiety with depression at low levels of ES. ES weakened the social anxiety/depression relation at low CR, and ES strengthened the association at high levels of CR. Compared to low levels of both strategies, high levels of either emotion regulation strategy paired with low levels of the other weakened the social anxiety/depression association. Compared to high or low levels of both strategies, high CR with low ES was associated with a weaker relation between social anxiety and depression. The association of social anxiety and depression symptoms, hence their comorbidity, may depend in part on the interaction of CR and ES. ES may interfere with the resilience to comorbidity provided by CR. Either CR or ES may convey resilience compared to using neither strategy.
... However, the relationship between positive empathy and social anxiety is unclear. Positive empathy usually refers to the sharing and feeling of the positive emotions of others, while socially anxious individuals were found to have positive emotion disorders, such as paying less attention to positive social information (Taylor et al., 2010), and reported greater expressive suppression of positive emotions (Farmer & Kashdan, 2012;Turk et al., 2005). It is plausible that positive empathy is deficient in individuals with social anxiety, but further research is needed to confirm this. ...
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Empathy may play a role in the development and maintenance of social anxiety, but the relationship between empathy and social anxiety in children remains unclear. The present study investigated the relationships between the three constructs of empathy (i.e., cognitive empathy, positive empathy, and negative empathy) and social anxiety in childhood, examined the moderating role of mother-child conflict and peer rejection and explored gender differences in the moderating effects. The participants were 670 children aged 9 and 12 years and their mothers. Children completed self-reports of empathy and social anxiety, mothers reported mother-child conflict, and peer rejection was measured using peer nomination. Cognitive empathy and positive empathy were negatively associated with social anxiety, and negative empathy was positively associated with social anxiety. The positive effects of high positive empathy on social anxiety existed only in children with low mother-child conflict and low peer rejection. The positive effects of high cognitive empathy on social anxiety were found only in girls with low peer rejection. The results of this study indicate that different constructs of empathy may increase or decrease the risk of social anxiety in children, and a negative interpersonal environment may offset the positive effects of empathy on social anxiety.
... The affective consequences of suppression and sharing may also vary by context. Overall, daily life studies of suppression show that it predicts worse emotional outcomes in the form of greater negative affect (NA) and less positive affect (PA), although the size of these effects varies across studies (Brans, Koval, Verduyn et al., 2013;Brockman et al., 2017;Farmer & Kashdan, 2012;Impett et al., 2012;Nezlek & Kuppens, 2008; but see Heiy & Cheavens, 2014). The short-term affective consequences of social sharing are more mixed (Brans, Koval, Verduyn et al., 2013;Cameron & Overall, 2018;Heiy & Cheavens, 2014). ...
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While emotion regulation often happens in the presence of others, little is known about how social context shapes regulatory efforts and outcomes. One key element of the social context is social support. In two experience sampling studies ( N s = 179 and 123), we examined how the use and affective consequences of two fundamentally social emotion-regulation strategies—social sharing and expressive suppression—vary as a function of perceived social support. Across both studies, we found evidence that social support was associated with variation in people’s use of these strategies, such that when people perceived their environments as being higher (vs. lower) in social support, they engaged in more sharing and less suppression. However, we found only limited and inconsistent support for context-dependent affective outcomes of suppression and sharing: suppression was associated with better affective consequences in the context of higher perceived social support in Study 1, but this effect did not replicate in Study 2. Taken together, these findings suggest that the use of social emotion-regulation strategies may depend on contextual variability in social support, whereas their effectiveness does not. Future research is needed to better understand the circumstances in which context-dependent use of emotion regulation may have emotional benefits, accounting for personal, situational, and cultural factors.
... Evidence for a negative association between SA and positive or neutral (but not negative) stimuli may be explained by socially anxious individuals' attentional biases away from positive information (Taylor et al., 2010), and the tendency to suppress positive emotions (Farmer and Kashdan, 2012), which can result in the misinterpretation of these social cues. Further, socially anxious individuals tend to interpret ambiguous stimuli more negatively (Morrison and Heimberg, 2013), which may explain the negative association between SA and accuracy for neutral cues. ...
Article
Previous research has shown a weak association between self-reported empathy and performance on behavioral assessments of social cognition. However, previous studies have often overlooked important distinctions within these multifaceted constructs (e.g., differences among the subcomponents of self-reported empathy, distinctions in tasks assessing lower- vs. high-level social cognition, and potential covariates that represent competing predictors). Using data from three separate studies (total N = 2,376), we tested whether the tendency to take the perspective of others (i.e., perspective-taking), and the tendency to catch the emotions of others (i.e., emotional contagion for positive and negative emotions), were associated with performance on tasks assessing lower- to higher-level social-cognitive ability (i.e., emotion recognition, theory of mind, and empathic accuracy) and affect sharing. Results showed little evidence of an association between any of the self-reported empathy measures and either social-cognitive ability or affect sharing. Using several large samples, our findings add additional evidence to previous work showing that self-report measures of empathy are not valid proxies of behaviorally assessed social cognition. Moreover, we find that the ease with which individuals recognize and understand their own emotions (i.e., alexithymia) is more related to social-cognitive abilities and affect sharing, than their tendency to take the perspective of others, or to vicariously experience the emotions of others. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... AER is a type of emotion regulation that is common in daily life and important to mental health. For instance, inadequate emotion regulation is a core feature of social anxiety (Mennin et al., 2009;Farmer and Kashdan, 2012;Helbig-Lang et al., 2015;Sheppes et al., 2015).The cued-emotion Go/Nogo paradigm is a widely used paradigm for investigating AER, which is designed based on the classical Go/Nogo paradigm (Zhang and Lu, 2012;Zhang et al., 2016). In the classical Go/Nogo paradigm, the amplitudes of frontal Nogo-N2 and NoGo-P3 were significantly greater than those of Go-N2 and Go-P3 (Lamm et al., 2006;Albert et al., 2010). ...
Article
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Emotion regulation in childhood and adolescence is related to their social development. Better emotion regulation is associated with great individual academic performance and mental health. However, compared with the research on emotion regulation strategies, children’s automatic emotion regulation has been less investigated. Using event-related potential (ERP) technology, this study adopts the cued-emotion Go/Nogo paradigm to investigate the processing characteristics of automatic emotion regulation in children aged 8–12 years. The current study selected 34 younger group [16 boys, 18 girls, mean (M) ± SD = 8.91 ± 0.75], and 31 older group [18 boys, 13 girls, M ± SD = 11.26 ± 0.45]. The results showed that, for Nogo trials, the amplitude of N2 and P3 evoked by emotional faces were significantly larger than those evoked by neutral faces, reflecting the cognitive conflict experienced and the process of children’s automatic response inhibition to emotional stimuli, respectively. However, no significant difference in N2 and P3 amplitude were found in Go trials, which may indicate that children aged 8–12 showed similar top-down control and similar motivated attention in this experiment, respectively. Further analysis found that the negative affect of temperament was significantly positively correlated with Nogo-P3 induced by neutral pictures (r = 0.37, p < 0.001), and preadolescents’ social anxiety was significantly positively correlated with Nogo-P3 followed by neutral pictures (r = 0.31, p < 0.01). These findings can provide inspiration and empirical support for the promotion and intervention of emotion regulation in children and adolescents.
... Most existing sentiment studies currently focus on Western families, and Western individualistic culture discourages the use of expression suppression [30,28]. Expression inhibition usually leads to negative outcomes for children [31]. Therefore, most previous studies have emphasized and confirmed the positive effects of supportive parental responses for young children's emotional socialization and the adverse effects of parental non-support that may inhibit children's expression of negative emotions. ...
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Analysis of social media during the COVID-19 quarantine period in Mainland China provides access to a large amount of user-generated content for sentiment analysis during this unexpected and stressful time period. This study focuses on emotions that were communicated in the context of interactions between parents and young children to explore their emotional attitudes and emotional contagion. Results suggest that positive emotional attitudes were more prevalent in parent-child interactions, which contrasts with previous research. In comparison to their children, parents expressed more negative moods. Nonetheless, Chinese preschoolers and their parents influenced each other's emotions with bi-directional effects, providing evidence of emotional contagion. Parents’ emotional transmission sometimes resulted in passive suppression by the young children. Emotions were manifested more through physical or behavioral interactions as opposed to verbal statements of feelings, especially during parent to child transmissions. The transmission of emotions from children to parents consisted mainly of two types: children's emotional catharsis and children's active emotional agency. The discussion explores explanations for the observed emotional contagion of positive emotions between parents and children, considers the role of power and agency during emotional contagion, and discusses the effects of Chinese socio-cultural factors on the sentiment analysis.
... Evidence for a negative association between SA and positive or neutral (but not negative) stimuli may be explained by socially anxious individuals' attentional biases away from positive information (Taylor et al., 2010), and the tendency to suppress positive emotions (Farmer and Kashdan, 2012), which can result in the misinterpretation of these social cues. Further, socially anxious individuals tend to interpret ambiguous stimuli more negatively (Morrison and Heimberg, 2013), which may explain the negative association between SA and accuracy for neutral cues. ...
Article
Background Social anxiety is highly prevalent and has increased in young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since social anxiety negatively impacts interpersonal functioning, identifying aspects of social cognition that may be impaired can increase our understanding of the development and maintenance of social anxiety disorder. However, to date, studies examining associations between social anxiety and social cognition have resulted in mixed findings. Methods The aim of this systematic review was to summarize the literature on the association between social anxiety and social cognition, while also considering several potential moderators and covariates that may influence findings. Results A systematic search identified 48 studies. Results showed mixed evidence for the association between social anxiety and lower-level social cognitive processes (emotion recognition and affect sharing) and a trend for a negative association with higher-level social cognitive processes (theory of mind and empathic accuracy). Most studies examining valence-specific effects found a significant negative association for positive and neutral stimuli. Limitations. Not all aspects of social cognition were included (e.g., attributional bias) and we focused on adults and not children, limiting the scope of the review. Conclusions Future studies would benefit from the inclusion of relevant moderators and covariates, multiple well-validated measures within the same domain of social cognition, and assessments of interpersonal functioning outside of the laboratory. Additional research examining the moderating role of attention or interpretation biases on social cognitive performance, and the potential benefit of social cognitive skills training for social anxiety could inform and improve existing cognitive behavioral interventions.
Article
The objective of this study was to understand if and for whom anger regulation relates to later reading and math achievement. The sample included 267 upper elementary school students from two schools (5% Asian, 10% Black, 6% Latinx, 17% Multiethnic/Other, and 62% White; 36% dual language learner; 60% female; average age = 9.7 years). Self-reported anger regulation and self- and teacher-reported emotional engagement were assessed. Then, reading and math standardized achievement were tested by the schools approximately three months later. Latent variable path analyzes suggested that withdrawal when experiencing anger (“anger withdraw”) had a significant, positive relation with later reading and math achievement outcomes, when controlling for other anger regulation strategies and demographics. Latent student- and teacher-reported emotional engagement moderated the relation of anger withdraw with later reading achievement. Discussion centers on anger regulation, moderation, and implications of anger regulation for school psychologists.
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To better understand how social anxiety develops, it is crucial to identify mechanisms that influence anxiety following social stressors. Anxiety sensitivity social concerns (ASSC; fear of publicly observable anxiety symptoms) and fear of negative evaluation (FNE; distress arising from concerns about negative judgment) are constructs that amplify anxiety following social stressors. However, it is unclear how ASSC and FNE influence acute anxiety following stressors in naturalistic settings. In the current study, the impact of ASSC and FNE on anxious arousal and anxious apprehension following stressors was examined in community adults (N = 83; M age = 29.66 years, SD = 12.49, 59.0% female) who completed questionnaires five times per day for two-weeks. Dynamic structural equation modeling was used to examine predictors of overall levels of anxiety as well as anxiety following social and nonsocial stressors. ASSC interacted with the presence of social stressors, such that ASSC positively predicted anxious arousal following social stressors. FNE interacted with the presence of nonsocial stressors to predict both forms of anxiety, such that FNE positively predicted anxiety following nonsocial stressors. These findings suggest ASSC may specifically amplify anxious arousal following social stressors, whereas FNE may broadly amplify anxiety following nonsocial stressors.
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People frequently regulate the emotions that arise during tense social interactions. Common regulation strategies include cognitive reappraisal, which involves interpreting a situation in positive terms, and expressive suppression, which involves inhibiting overt signs of inner emotional states. According to our analysis, during tense social interactions reappraisal should (i) increase memory for what was said, whereas suppression should (ii) decrease memory for what was said, and (iii) increase memory for emotions. To test these predictions, we experimentally manipulated reappraisal and suppression in dating couples as they discussed a relationship conflict. As predicted, memory for conversation utterances was increased by reappraisal and decreased by suppression, and memory for emotional reactions was increased by suppression. Self-monitoring mediated the effect of suppression on memory for emotional reactions, but not for conversation utterances. These findings suggest that, if it is important to preserve the fidelity of cognitive functioning during emotionally trying social interactions, some forms of emotion regulation may have more to recommend them than others.
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A sense of connectedness for men was hypothesized to be based on relationships that emphasize forms of social comparison, whereas a sense of connectedness for women was hypothesized to be based on relationships that emphasize forms of intimacy and physical proximity. The results from this study generally supported the hypotheses for both women and men. For women, relationships that emphasized reliable alliance and not guidance contributed to social connectedness. For men, relationships that emphasized reassurance of worth but not reliable alliance or opportunity for nurturance contributed to social connectedness. Differences in how women and men construct social connectedness are discussed in terms of counseling implications and future research.
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We frequently try to appear less emotional than we really are, such as when we are angry with our spouse at a dinner party, disgusted by a boss’s sexist comments during a meeting, or amused by a friend’s embarrassing faux pas in public. Attempts at emotion suppression doubtless have social benefits. However, suppression may do more than change how we look: It also may change how we think. Two studies tested the hypothesis that emotion suppression has cognitive consequences. Study 1 showed that suppression impaired incidental memory for information presented during the suppression period. Study 2 replicated this finding and further showed that suppression increased cardiovascular activation. Mediational analyses indicated that physiological and cognitive effects were independent. Overall, findings suggest that emotion suppression is a cognitively demanding form of self-regulation.
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The development and validation of the Social Phobia Scale (SPS) and the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS) two companion measures for assessing social phobia fears is described. The SPS assesses fears of being scrutinised during routine activities (eating, drinking, writing, etc.), while the SIAS assesses fears of more general social interaction, the scales corresponding to the DSM-III-R descriptions of Social Phobia—Circumscribed and Generalised types, respectively. Both scales were shown to possess high levels of internal consistency and test–retest reliability. They discriminated between social phobia, agoraphobia and simple phobia samples, and between social phobia and normal samples. The scales correlated well with established measures of social anxiety, but were found to have low or non-significant (partial) correlations with established measures of depression, state and trait anxiety, locus of control, and social desirability. The scales were found to change with treatment and to remain stable in the face of no-treatment. It appears that these scales are valid, useful, and easily scored measures for clinical and research applications, and that they represent an improvement over existing measures of social phobia.
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This study investigated 3 broad classes of individual-differences variables (job-search motives, competencies, and constraints) as predictors of job-search intensity among 292 unemployed job seekers. Also assessed was the relationship between job-search intensity and reemployment success in a longitudinal context. Results show significant relationships between the predictors employment commitment, financial hardship, job-search self-efficacy, and motivation control and the outcome job-search intensity. Support was not found for a relationship between perceived job-search constraints and job-search intensity. Motivation control was highlighted as the only lagged predictor of job-search intensity over time for those who were continuously unemployed. Job-search intensity predicted Time 2 reemployment status for the sample as a whole, but not reemployment quality for those who found jobs over the study's duration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Suggests that individual differences in emotion regulation may relate to vulnerability and resilience to anxiety and mood disorders. We also provide numerous examples of how many clinical features of anxiety and mood disorders may be construed as maladaptive attempts to regulate unwanted emotions. Finally, we review a novel treatment approach for anxiety and mood difficulties that is informed by basic research on emotion regulation. The emotion regulation-focused cognitive therapy protocol focuses on cognitive reappraisal for emotion regulation. When using the term "emotion regulation," we refer to cognitive and behavioral processes that influence the occurrence, intensity, duration, and expression of emotion. These processes may support upregulation or downregulation of positive or negative emotions. However, because anxiety and mood disorders are largely characterized by excessive negative emotion, we focus on downregulation of negative emotion. Topics include: emotion regulation and clinical features of anxiety and mood disorders (maladaptive situation selection: situational avoidance and social withdrawal; maladaptive situation modification: safety signals; maladaptive attentional deployment: thought suppression, distraction, worry, and rumination; maladaptive cognitive change: rationalization; maladaptive response modulation: substance use) and emotion regulation and treatment of anxiety and mood disorders (cognitive reappraisal, modifying emotional action tendencies, preventing emotional avoidance). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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[centers] on the types of mood regulation and on the reasons that can motivate them / show how consideration of these motives broadens our understanding of self-regulation and influences our conception of the nature of mood itself / concentrates on why someone might want to regulate moods / [argues] that moods inherently involve a complex of cognitive and motivational tendencies as well as hedonic qualities (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)