Article

Do people with elevated social anxiety respond differently to digital and face-to-face communications? Two daily diary studies with null effects

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... The efects of social anxiety can also occur in digital context. As with face-to-face communications, socially anxious people experience more negative emotions and fewer positive emotions across CMC mediums [28]. Research has been inconclusive on whether social anxiety is associated with higher use of CMC [28,87], but it does appear to be associated with a preference for CMC compared to face-to-face communications [29,87]. ...
... As with face-to-face communications, socially anxious people experience more negative emotions and fewer positive emotions across CMC mediums [28]. Research has been inconclusive on whether social anxiety is associated with higher use of CMC [28,87], but it does appear to be associated with a preference for CMC compared to face-to-face communications [29,87]. ...
... Notably, however, socially anxious young adults did not report perceiving that the Internet affords greater control over social interactions and self-presentation in the online environment, nor did they differ in levels of social Internet use as compared than their less-anxious counterparts. This finding supports past research that found there was no significant association between social anxiety and time spent engaging with others online (Doorley et al., 2020;Prizant-Passal et al., 2016). However, the finding is novel in that it demonstrates that in online settings, social engagement levels among socially anxious and less-anxious young adults appear commensurate. ...
Article
A growing area of research has begun to explore the opportunities that social media and the Internet provide for social connection. In contributing to this literature, the current study aimed to examine links between young adults’ perceptions of protection and control in the online environment, social Internet use, and social connectedness. Furthermore, as online communication has been suggested to be beneficial for those who are socially anxious, we tested social anxiety as a moderator of the aforementioned associations. A sample of Australian young adults (N = 687; 59.8% female; Mage = 19.45 years, SD = 2.07) were included in the study. A multigroup mediation model tested the effects of perceptions of protection and control online on social connectedness, via social Internet use, for groups of young adults classified as socially anxious, or low to moderate in social anxiety. For all young adults, social Internet use was positively associated with social connectedness, but there were key differences in the associations between Internet perceptions and social connectedness among young adults with and without social anxiety. For example, for socially anxious young adults, perceptions of control online were directly associated with lower social connectedness. Furthermore, although perceptions of protection online were linked to lower social connectedness of those without social anxiety, the negative effect was not significant for socially anxious young adults. These findings may have implications for clinical practice, and importantly, highlight links between perceptions of online contexts and connectedness that may be driven by social anxiety. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
... Social support can buffer the impact of stress on numerous outcomes (Uchino & Birmingham, 2011;Yusufov et al., 2019). Electronic diary entries can be especially beneficial to increase mindfulness in college students and to decrease anxiety, (Doorley et al., 2020). Expressive writing is a key component of journaling in a diary and is a commonly used tool for self-reflection (Frattaroli, 2006). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper we describe the effect of incorporating two mindfulness techniques (keeping a diary and motivational interviewing) in a professional skills course, and the impact these had on students’ self-perceptions of mindfulness. Over the course of a fourteen-week semester, students were asked to keep a diary at four different time points and were also taught motivational interviewing skills, which they had to apply to a four-part counseling project. Using a pre-post study design and the validated tool, the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), we meausred students’ perceptions of mindfulness pre-course and post-course. Results from the study indicated that students’ perceptions of mindfulness significantly increased from pre-course to post-course. Further, most students agreed that both the diary assignments and practicing motivational interviewing increased mindfulness from pre-course to post-course. Additionally, a majority of students reported that practicing motivational interviewing enhanced their counseling skills on the four-part counseling project, and that the four diary assignments improved their writing skills. This study underscores the importance of incorporating mindfulness techniques into a professional skills course to increase students’ mindfulness, which can further benefit the student by increasing students’ professional skills to become more competent counselors and writers.
Article
Full-text available
The current study aimed to examine whether the Geneva Space Cruiser-a new online adaptation of the Cruiser-represents a valid, reliable and useful tool to assess prospective memory (PM) across the adult lifespan via fully self-administered online testing. Therefore, an adult lifespan sample of 252 adults (19-86 years old) performed the Geneva Space Cruiser in the laboratory and online, at home, and also performed a more traditional laboratory PM task. A second sample of 224 young adults (19-35 years old) participated in a test-retest online assessment of the Geneva Space Cruiser. Bayesian analyses showed that the Geneva Space Cruiser yielded similar results when administered in the laboratory versus online, both in terms of data distribution as well as of key outcome measures (i.e., PM performance and monitoring). Results further showed very good test-retest reliability and acceptable construct validity. Finally, the online tool was sensitive for detecting age-differences similar to those typically observed in laboratory studies. Together, our findings suggest that the Geneva Space Cruiser represents a rather valid, moderately to highly reliable, and generally useful tool to assess PM in online testing across wide ranges of the adult lifespan, with certain limitations for the oldest participants and for women.
Article
We examined the use of voice/text and visual mediums and their effects on perceptions and emotions in social anxiety disorder (SAD). Our sample included 88 individuals: 44 individuals with SAD and 44 non-socially-anxious (NSA) individuals. We used an experience sampling methodology (ESM) in which participants received daily links to online measures at random times during the day, for 21 days and reported on social interactions, emotions and perceptions. Results indicated that individuals with SAD used voice/text mediums to a greater extent and used visual mediums to a lesser extent compared to NSA individuals. However, despite preferring voice/text mediums, use of visual mediums resulted in immediate increases in positive perceptions and emotions for individuals with SAD. These findings were above and beyond the effect of depressive symptoms and remained when social anxiety was represented as a continuum of severity. This has important implications for exposure interventions in the treatment of SAD.
Article
Full-text available
Dispositional negativity—the tendency to experience more frequent or intense negative emotions—is a fundamental dimension of temperament and personality. Elevated levels of dispositional negativity have profound consequences for public health and wealth, drawing the attention of researchers, clinicians, and policymakers. Yet, relatively little is known about the factors that govern the momentary expression of dispositional negativity in the real world. Here, we used smart phone–based experience-sampling to demonstrate that the social environment plays a central role in shaping the moment-by-moment emotional experience of 127 young adults selectively recruited to represent a broad spectrum of dispositional negativity. Results indicate that individuals with a more negative disposition derive much larger emotional benefits from the company of close companions—friends, romantic partners, and family members—and that these benefits reflect heightened feelings of social connection and acceptance. These results set the stage for developing improved interventions and provide new insights into the interaction of emotional traits and situations in the real world, close to clinically and practically important end-points.
Article
Full-text available
A reasons for Internet Use Questionnaire was developed to examine the relationship between internet use, social anxiety, general anxiety, and depression. Research suggests that socially anxious individuals may find it easier to interact online where anonymity can be maintained rather than engage in face to face interaction where being observed by others might induce a fear of negative evaluation. In line with the self-regulation model, it was hypothesised that social anxiety, low ego strength, anxiety and depression, would be related to use of the internet to cope with social fears. The results were partially in line with the hypothesis. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Despite the increased attention that researchers have paid to social anxiety disorder (SAD), compared with other anxiety and mood disorders, relatively little is known about the emotional and social factors that distinguish individuals who meet diagnostic criteria from those who do not. In this study, participants with and without a diagnosis of SAD (generalized subtype) described their daily face-to-face social interactions for 2 weeks using handheld computers. We hypothesized that, compared with healthy controls, individuals diagnosed with SAD would experience fewer positive emotions, rely more on experiential avoidance (of anxiety), and have greater self-control depletion (feeling mentally and physically exhausted after socializing), after accounting for social anxiety, negative emotions, and feelings of belonging during social interactions. We found that compared with healthy controls, individuals with SAD experienced weaker positive emotions and greater experiential avoidance, but there were no differences in self-control depletion between groups. Moreover, the differences we found could not be attributed to comorbid anxiety or depressive disorders. Our results suggest that negative emotions alone do not fully distinguish normal from pathological social anxiety, and that assessing social anxiety disorder should include impairments in positive emotional experiences and dysfunctional emotion regulation (in the form of experiential avoidance) in social situations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
This study developed and tested an “Internet-attribute-perception” model that explains how self-disclosure develops in instant messaging (IM) interactions. Following hyperpersonal communication theory, two attributes of computer-mediated communication (i.e., reduced nonverbal cues and controllability) were assumed to be responsible for increased online self-disclosure in IM. However, our model posed that any actual effects of these attributes would depend on users' perceptions of the relevance of these attributes. Furthermore, our model posed that these perceptions would mediate the relationship between personality characteristics (i.e., pri vate and public self-consciousness, and social anxiety) and online self-disclosure. Using structural equation modeling on a sample of 1,203 Dutch adolescents, we found that adolescents' perceptions of the relevance of reduced nonverbal cues and controllability encouraged their feelings of disinhibition, which in turn increased their online self-disclosure. As expected, private and public self-consciousness and social anxiety stimulated adolescents' perceptions of the relevance of reduced nonverbal cues and controllability, but did not directly influence online self-disclosure. The study shows the vital role of users' perceptions of CMC attributes in Internet-effects research.
Article
Full-text available
The psychometric adequacy of the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS; R. P. Mattick & J. C. Clark, 1989), a measure of social interaction anxiety, and the Social Phobia Scale (SPS; R. P. Mattick & J. C. Clark, 1989), a measure of anxiety while being observed by others, was evaluated in anxious patients and normal controls. Social phobia patients scored higher on both scales and were more likely to be identified as having social phobia than other anxious patients (except for agoraphobic patients on the SPS) or controls. Clinician-rated severity of social phobia was moderately related to SIAS and SPS scores. Additional diagnoses of mood or panic disorder did not affect SIAS or SPS scores among social phobia patients, but an additional diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder was associated with SIAS scores. Number of reported feared social interaction situations was more highly correlated with scores on the SIAS, whereas number of reported feared performance situations was more highly correlated with scores on the SPS. These scales appear to be useful in screening, designing individualized treatments, and evaluating the outcomes of treatments for social phobia. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Full-text available
This article introduces a single-item scale, the Affect Grid, designed as a quick means of assessing affect along the dimensions of pleasure–displeasure and arousal–sleepiness. The Affect Grid is potentially suitable for any study that requires judgments about affect of either a descriptive or a subjective kind. The scale was shown to have adequate reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant validity in 4 studies in which college students used the Affect Grid to describe (a) their current mood, (b) the meaning of emotion-related words, and (c) the feelings conveyed by facial expressions. Other studies (e.g., J. Snodgrass et al; see record 1989-13842-001) are cited to illustrate the potential uses of the Affect Grid as a measure of mood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Full-text available
Measurement of affective states in everyday life is of fundamental importance in many types of quality of life, health, and psychological research. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is the recognized method of choice, but the respondent burden can be high. The day reconstruction method (DRM) was developed by Kahneman and colleagues (Science, 2004, 306, 1776-1780) to assess affect, activities and time use in everyday life. We sought to validate DRM affect ratings by comparison with contemporaneous EMA ratings in a sample of 94 working women monitored over work and leisure days. Six EMA ratings of happiness, tiredness, stress, and anger/frustration were obtained over each 24 h period, and were compared with DRM ratings for the same hour, recorded retrospectively at the end of the day. Similar profiles of affect intensity were recorded with the two techniques. The between-person correlations adjusted for attenuation ranged from 0.58 (stress, working day) to 0.90 (happiness, leisure day). The strength of associations was not related to age, educational attainment, or depressed mood. We conclude that the DRM provides reasonably reliable estimates both of the intensity of affect and variations in affect over the day, so is a valuable instrument for the measurement of everyday experience in health and social research.
Article
Full-text available
Children and adolescents now communicate online to form and/or maintain relationships with friends, family, and strangers. Relationships in "real life" are important for children's and adolescents' psychosocial development; however, they can be difficult for those who experience feelings of loneliness and/or social anxiety. The aim of this study was to investigate differences in usage of online communication patterns between children and adolescents with and without self-reported loneliness and social anxiety. Six hundred twenty-six students ages 10 to 16 years completed a survey on the amount of time they spent communicating online, the topics they discussed, the partners they engaged with, and their purposes for communicating over the Internet. Participants were administered a shortened version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale and an abbreviated subscale of the Social Anxiety Scale for Adolescents (SAS-A). Additionally, age and gender differences in usage of the online communication patterns were examined across the entire sample. Findings revealed that children and adolescents who self-reported being lonely communicated online significantly more frequently about personal and intimate topics than did those who did not self-report being lonely. The former were motivated to use online communication significantly more frequently to compensate for their weaker social skills to meet new people. Results suggest that Internet usage allows them to fulfill critical needs of social interactions, self-disclosure, and identity exploration. Future research, however, should explore whether or not the benefits derived from online communication may also facilitate lonely children's and adolescents' offline social relationships.
Article
Full-text available
Interest in the assessment of quality of life in the anxiety disorders is growing. The present study examined quality of life impairments in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia, and panic disorder. Results showed that individuals with these disorders reported less satisfaction with their quality of life than non-anxious adults in the community. However, the degree of quality of life impairment is similar across these three disorders. Additionally, comorbid depression, but not anxiety, was found to negatively impact quality of life in these individuals. Finally, diagnostic symptom severity was not found to influence quality of life, indicating that subjective measures of quality of life offer unique information on the effects of anxiety disorders.
Article
Full-text available
The Day Reconstruction Method (DRM) assesses how people spend their time and how they experience the various activities and settings of their lives, combining features of time-budget measurement and experience sampling. Participants systematically reconstruct their activities and experiences of the preceding day with procedures designed to reduce recall biases. The DRM's utility is shown by documenting close correspondences between the DRM reports of 909 employed women and established results from experience sampling. An analysis of the hedonic treadmill shows the DRM's potential for well-being research. Download link at: http://sitemaker.umich.edu/norbert.schwarz/day_reconstruction_method__time_use____well-being
Article
Full-text available
D. M. Clark and A. Wells (1995) proposed that a shift of attention inward toward interoceptive information is a central feature of social phobia. However, few studies have examined attentional biases toward internal physiological cues in social phobia. The current experiment assessed whether socially anxious individuals exhibit an attentional bias (a) toward cues for an internal source of potential threat (heart-rate information), (b) toward cues for an external source of potential threat (threatening faces) or (c) both. Ninety-one participants who were selected to form extreme groups based on a social anxiety screening measure performed a dot-probe task to assess location of attention. Results showed that socially anxious participants exhibited an attentional bias toward cues of internal, but not external, sources of potential threat.
Article
Full-text available
Six studies examined the role of positive affect (PA) in the experience of meaning in life (MIL). Study 1 showed strong relations between measures of mood, goal appraisals, and MIL. In multivariate analyses, PA was a stronger predictor of MIL than goal appraisals. In Study 2, the most consistent predictor of the experience of meaning in a day was the PA experienced that day. Later, global MIL was predicted by average daily PA, rather than average daily MIL. Study 3 demonstrated no prospective relations between measures of MIL and PA over 2 years. In Study 4, priming positive mood concepts enhanced MIL. In Study 5, manipulated positive mood enhanced ratings of MIL for those who were not given an attributional cue for their moods. In Study 6, PA was associated with a high level of distinction between meaningful and meaningless activities. Results indicate that positive moods may predispose individuals to feel that life is meaningful. In addition, positive moods may increase sensitivity to the meaning-relevance of a situation.
Article
Full-text available
The widely used Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS; R. P. Mattick & J. C. Clarke, 1998) possesses favorable psychometric properties, but questions remain concerning its factor structure and item properties. Analyses included 445 people with social anxiety disorder and 1,689 undergraduates. Simple unifactorial models fit poorly, and models that accounted for differences due to item wording (i.e., reverse scoring) provided superior fit. It was further found that clients and undergraduates approached some items differently, and the SIAS may be somewhat overly conservative in selecting analogue participants from an undergraduate sample. Overall, this study provides support for the excellent properties of the SIAS's straightforwardly worded items, although questions remain regarding its reverse-scored items.
Article
Full-text available
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a common, distressing and persistent mental illness. Recent studies have identified a number of psychological factors that could explain the maintenance of the disorder. These factors are presented here as part of a comprehensive psychological maintenance model of SAD. This model assumes that social apprehension is associated with unrealistic social standards and a deficiency in selecting attainable social goals. When confronted with challenging social situations, individuals with SAD shift their attention toward their anxiety, view themselves negatively as a social object, overestimate the negative consequences of a social encounter, believe that they have little control over their emotional response, and view their social skills as inadequate to effectively cope with the social situation. In order to avoid social mishaps, individuals with SAD revert to maladaptive coping strategies, including avoidance and safety behaviors, followed by post-event rumination, which leads to further social apprehension in the future. Possible disorder-specific intervention strategies are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the role of emoticons in computer-mediated communication (CMC). The study consisted of an online questionnaire about the social motives for emoticon use and an experimental part in which participants (N = 1,251) had to respond to short Internet chats. In these chats, the interaction partner (friend vs. stranger) and the valence of the context (positive vs. negative) were manipulated. Results showed that emoticons are mostly used to express emotion, to strengthen a message, and to express humor. Furthermore, more emoticons were used in communication with friends than in communication with strangers, and more emoticons were used in a positive context than in a negative context. Participants seem to use emoticons in a way similar to facial behavior in face-to-face communication with respect to social context and interaction partner.
Article
Quantifying the ubiquitous, ephemeral, and highly diverse patterns of mobile social media (MSM) use is a challenge for communication research. Most researchers employ retrospective survey measurement, thus depending on the accuracy of users’ memories and generalizations. Alternatively, some researchers rely on in-situ measurement, being less dependent on users’ memories and generalizations, but requiring random situation samples. To assess differences and similarities between these two measurement approaches we analyzed whether characteristics (duration and frequency of a usage episode, habit, elaboration, and gratifications) of MSM use (regarding Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube) vary between retrospective survey and mobile experience sampling measurement. We observe a consistent pattern of higher estimates in retrospect as compared to individual averages of in-situ reports. The absolute magnitude of these differences varies considerably between platforms and characteristics studied. Nonetheless, for most constructs and platforms we find low significant positive correlations between retrospective and aggregated in-situ values.
Article
One of the puzzles surrounding social phobia is that patients with this problem are often exposed to phobic situations without showing a marked reduction in their fears. It is possible that individuals with social phobia engage in behaviors in the feared situation that are intended to avert feared catastrophes but that also prevent disconfirmation of their fears. This hypothesis was tested in a single case series of eight socially phobic patients. All patients received one session of exposure alone and one session of exposure plus decrease in “safety” behaviors in a counterbalanced within-subject design. Exposure plus decreased safety behaviors was significantly better than exposure alone in reducing within-situation anxiety and belief in the feared catastrophe. Other factors that may moderate exposure effects are also discussed.
Article
Dispositional negativity—the propensity to experience and express more frequent, intense, or enduring negative affect—is a fundamental dimension of childhood temperament and adult personality. Elevated levels of dispositional negativity can have profound consequences for health, wealth, and happiness, drawing the attention of clinicians, researchers, and policymakers. Here, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of the psychological and neurobiological processes linking stable individual differences in dispositional negativity to momentary emotional states. Self-report data suggest that 3 key pathways—increased stressor reactivity, tonic increases in negative affect, and increased stressor exposure—explain most of the heightened negative affect that characterizes individuals with a more negative disposition. Of these 3 pathways, tonically elevated, indiscriminate negative affect appears to be most central to daily life and most relevant to the development of psychopathology. New behavioral and biological data provide insights into the neural systems underlying these 3 pathways and motivate the hypothesis that seemingly “tonic” increases in negative affect may actually reflect increased reactivity to stressors that are remote, uncertain, or diffuse. Research focused on humans, monkeys, and rodents suggests that this indiscriminate negative affect reflects trait-like variation in the activity and connectivity of several key brain regions, including the central extended amygdala and parts of the prefrontal cortex. Collectively, these observations provide an integrative psychobiological framework for understanding the dynamic cascade of processes that bind emotional traits to emotional states and, ultimately, to emotional disorders and other kinds of adverse outcomes.
Article
This article concerns how to estimate reliability (defined as the internal consistency of responses to a scale) in designs that are commonly used in studies of within-person variability. I present relevant issues, describe common errors, make recommendations for best practice, and discuss unresolved issues and future directions. I describe how to estimate the reliability of scales administered in studies in which observations are nested within persons, such as daily diary and “beeper” studies and studies of social interaction. Multilevel modeling analyses that include a measurement level can estimate the occasionlevel (e.g., days or beeps or interactions) reliability of scales. In such models, items on a scale are nested within occasions of measurement and occasions of measurement are nested within persons.
Article
The vast majority of empirical research on online communication, or media use in general, relies on self-report measures instead of behavioral data. Previous research has shown that the accuracy of these self-report measures can be quite low, and both over- and underreporting of media use are commonplace. This study compares self-reports of Internet use with client log files from a large household sample. Results show that the accuracy of self-reported frequency and duration of Internet use is quite low, and that survey data are only moderately correlated with log file data. Moreover, there are systematic patterns of misreporting, especially overreporting, rather than random deviations from the log files. Self-reports for specific content such as social network sites or video platforms seem to be more accurate and less consistently biased than self-reports of generic frequency or duration of Internet use. The article closes by demonstrating the consequences of biased self-reports and discussing possible solutions to the problem.
Article
Social phobia is increasingly recognized as a prevalent and socially impairing mental disorder. However, little data is available regarding the general and disease-specific impairments and disabilities associated with social phobia. Furthermore, most studies have not controlled for the confounding effects of comorbid conditions. This study investigates: (a) the generic quality of life; (b) work productivity; and, (c) various other disorder-specific social impairments in current cases with pure (n = 65), comorbid (n = 51) and subthreshold (n = 34) DSM-IV social phobia as compared to controls with no social phobia (subjects with a history of herpes infections). Social phobia cases reported a mean illness duration of 22.9 years with onset in childhood or adolescence. Current quality of life, as assessed by the SF-36, was significantly reduced in all social phobia groups, particularly in the scales measuring vitality, general health, mental health, role limitations due to emotional health, and social functioning. Comorbid cases revealed more severe reductions than pure and subthreshold social phobics. Findings from the Liebowitz self-rated disability scale indicated that: (a) social phobia affects most areas of life, but in particular education, career, and romantic relationship; (b) the presence of past and current comorbid conditions increases the frequency of disease-specific impairments; and, (c) subthreshold social phobia revealed slightly lower overall impairments than comorbid social phobics. Past week work productivity of social phobics was significantly diminished as indicated by: (a) a three-fold higher rate of unemployed cases; (b) elevated rates of work hours missed due to social phobia problems; and, (c) a reduced work performance. Overall, these findings underline that social phobia in our sample of adults, whether comorbid, subthreshold, or pure was a persisting and impairing condition, resulting in considerable subjective suffering and negative impact on work performance and social relationships. The current disabilities and impairments were usually less pronounced than in the past, presumably due to adaptive behaviors in life style of the respondents. Data also confirmed that social phobia is poorly recognized and rarely treated by the mental health system.
Article
Facebook (FB) is a popular platform for interacting with others to establish or maintain relationships. Compared to other interpersonal exchanges, FB does not require in-person interactions. Therefore, FB may represent an important social sphere for individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Examining the relationship between social anxiety symptoms and FB activity could inform future research on the benefits or consequences of FB use in SAD individuals. This study examined the relationship between social anxiety symptoms and different FB usage patterns. We also considered the role of brooding—a known risk factor for SAD. 75 nonclinical FB users completed questionnaires about psychological symptoms, FB usage, and brooding. Greater social anxiety symptoms were associated with spending more time on FB and passively using FB (i.e., viewing other's profiles without interacting). Brooding mediated the relationship between passive FB use and social anxiety symptoms. An alternative model demonstrated that social anxiety symptoms mediated the association between passive FB use and brooding. This study was limited by its cross-sectional, self-report design. Future research should assess FB use with objective, real-time data and use experimental designs. Results have implications for the cognitive–behavioral model of SAD.
Article
Experiential avoidance (EA), the tendency to avoid internal, unwanted thoughts and feelings, is hypothesized to be a risk factor for social anxiety. Existing studies of experiential avoidance rely on trait measures with minimal contextual consideration. In two studies, we examined the association between experiential avoidance and anxiety within real-world social interactions. In the first study, we examined the effect of experiential avoidance on social anxiety in everyday life. For 2 weeks, 37 participants with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and 38 healthy controls provided reports of experiential avoidance and social anxiety symptoms during face-to-face social interactions. Results showed that momentary experiential avoidance was positively related to anxiety symptoms during social interactions and this effect was stronger among people with SAD. People low in EA showed greater sensitivity to the level of situational threat than high EA people. In the second study, we facilitated an initial encounter between strangers. Unlike Study 1, we experimentally created a social situation where there was either an opportunity for intimacy (self-disclosure conversation) or no such opportunity (small-talk conversation). Results showed that greater experiential avoidance during the self-disclosure conversation temporally preceded increases in social anxiety for the remainder of the interaction; no such effect was found in the small-talk conversation. Our findings provide insight into the association between experiential avoidance on social anxiety in laboratory and naturalistic settings, and demonstrate that the effect of EA depends upon level of social threat and opportunity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Background: Social anxiety is a debilitating condition which ranks as the third most common mental health problem after depression and alcohol abuse. Whilst it is known that adults with social anxiety do less well than peers on measures of education and career attainment little is known about its prevalence or potential impact on students studying in higher education. Aims: This paper reports on a recently conducted prevalence survey of social anxiety in a sample of 1007 students studying at a large university and its partnership colleges. The study used the Liebowitz social anxiety scale; a comprehensive scale that measures both fear and avoidance of the types of situations which students may commonly experience. Method: An opportunistic sampling method was used to administer the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale to students across seven faculties. Results: The findings show that approximately 10% of students reported marked to severe social anxiety, a figure that is broadly in line with evidence from recent community epidemiological surveys of adults and young people. Conclusions: The study suggests that social anxiety is present in a relatively small, but significant proportion of students studying in higher education. The authors recommend that further research is required to explore the prevalence and impact of social anxiety on students studying in higher education. In addition, the paper calls for closer collaboration between mental health agencies and higher education institutions in order to raise student and staff awareness of social anxiety.
Article
The social compensation hypothesis states that the internet primarily benefits individuals who feel uncomfortable communicating face-to-face. In the current research, we tested whether individuals higher in social anxiety use the internet as a compensatory social medium, and whether such use is associated with greater well-being. In Study 1, individuals higher in social anxiety reported greater feelings of comfort and self-disclosure when socializing online than less socially anxious individuals, but reported less self-disclosure when communicating face-to-face. However, in Study 2, social anxiety was associated with lower quality of life and higher depression most strongly for individuals who communicated frequently online. Our results suggest that, whereas social anxiety may be associated with using the internet as an alternative to face-to-face communication, such a strategy may result in poorer well-being.
Article
This study examined teens’ use of socially interactive technologies (SITs), such as online social sites, cell phones/text messaging, and instant messaging (IM), and the role that social anxiety plays on how teens communicate with others (technologically or face-to-face). Participants included 280 high school students from a large western city. On average, 35–40% of teens reported using cell phones/text messaging and online social sites between 1 and 4 h daily, 24% reported using IMs 1–4 h daily and only 8% reported using email between 1 and 4 h daily. Females tended to use cell phones/text messaging and online social sites more so than did males. In assessing social anxiety, analyses revealed a positive relationship between social anxiety (not comfortable talking with others face-to-face) and (1) talking with others online and (2) talking with others via text messaging. In contrast, there was a positive relationship between the lack of social anxiety (feeling “comfortable” talking with others) and making friends online. Assessing gender differences and social anxiety also revealed significant differences. Results revealed females reported more social anxiety (not comfortable talking with others in person) than did males. In addition, females, more than males, reported feeling more comfortable using SITs (text messaging and online social sites only) rather than talking with others face-to-face.
Article
One of the puzzles surrounding social phobia is that patients with this problem are often exposed to phobic situations without showing a marked reduction in their fears. It is possible that individuals with social phobia engage in behaviors in the feared situation that are intended to avert feared catastrophes but that also prevent disconfirmation of their fears. This hypothesis was tested in a single case series of eight socially phobic patients. All patients received one session of exposure alone and one session of exposure plus decrease in “safety” behaviors in a counterbalanced within-subject design. Exposure plus decreased safety behaviors was significantly better than exposure alone in reducing within-situation anxiety and belief in the feared catastrophe. Other factors that may moderate exposure effects are also discussed.
Article
As internet use becomes increasingly integral to modern life, the hazards of excessive use are also becoming apparent. Prior research suggests that socially anxious individuals are particularly susceptible to problematic internet use. This vulnerability may relate to the perception of online communication as a safer means of interacting, due to greater control over self-presentation, decreased risk of negative evaluation, and improved relationship quality. To investigate these hypotheses, a general sample of 338 completed an online survey. Social anxiety was confirmed as a significant predictor of problematic internet use when controlling for depression and general anxiety. Social anxiety was associated with perceptions of greater control and decreased risk of negative evaluation when communicating online, however perceived relationship quality did not differ. Negative expectations during face-to-face interactions partially accounted for the relationship between social anxiety and problematic internet use. There was also preliminary evidence that preference for online communication exacerbates face-to-face avoidance.
Article
The validity of both the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale and Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation scale has been well-supported, yet the scales have a small number of reverse-scored items that may detract from the validity of their total scores. The current study investigates two characteristics of participants that may be associated with compromised validity of these items: higher age and lower levels of education. In community and clinical samples, the validity of each scale's reverse-scored items was moderated by age, years of education, or both. The straightforward items did not show this pattern. To encourage the use of the straightforward items of these scales, we provide normative data from the same samples as well as two large student samples. We contend that although response bias can be a substantial problem, the reverse-scored questions of these scales do not solve that problem and instead decrease overall validity.
Article
The current paper presents a model of the experience of anxiety in social/evaluative situations in people with social phobia. The model describes the manner in which people with social phobia perceive and process information related to potential evaluation and the way in which these processes differ between people high and low in social anxiety. It is argued that distortions and biases in the processing of social/evaluative information lead to heightened anxiety in social situations and, in turn, help to maintain social phobia. Potential etiological factors as well as treatment implications are also discussed.
Article
This article reports the effects of a cognitive-behavioral group therapy program for social phobia (N = 25 outpatients) on several psychometric measures. It is the first study to simultaneously examine three newer and promising social-phobia measures: the Social Phobia Scale (SPS) and accompanying Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS), the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory (SPAI), and the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS). More traditional measures of social phobia were also included, along with measures of anxious and depressed mood. Among the newer scales, the SPAI and SPS/SIAS were found to have good sensitivity to treatment. There was limited support for the LSAS. Intercorrelations among all of the outcome measures are presented both before and after cognitive-behavioral therapy. Strengths and weakness of each of the newer social-phobia measures are discussed.
Article
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 fear of being scrutinised during routine activities (eating, drinking, writing, etc.), while the SIAS assesses fear 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.
Article
We examined three cognitive processes hypothesized to contribute to biases in judgments about and memory for social events: self-focused attention, post-event rumination, and anticipatory processing. Socially anxious (N = 58) and nonanxious (N = 58) subjects participated in a social interaction and then completed measures of self-focused attention and anxiety-related physiological sensations and behavior. The next day, subjects completed measures that assessed frequency of post-event processing and recall of the interaction. The results indicated that selective attention to negative self-related information led to biases in social judgments and recollections and that post-event processing contributed to the recall of negative self-related information. No evidence was found for selective retrieval of negative self-related information prior to a second social interaction. The results reconcile inconsistent previous findings related to memory bias in social anxiety.
Article
The current study sought to understand better the psychological characteristics of socially anxious individuals who seek information on the internet about social anxiety disorder and its treatment. Participants were 434 individuals who responded to an internet-based survey linked to the website of an anxiety specialty clinic. Using established cut-off scores, 92% of the sample met criteria for social anxiety disorder. Internet survey respondents who met these criteria reported greater severity of and impairment due to social anxiety than a treatment-seeking sample of persons with social anxiety disorder. Nevertheless, only about one-third of these internet respondents reported having received psychotherapy, and a similar percentage reported having received pharmacotherapy. Those with the most severe social interaction anxiety and who spent the most time interacting on the internet endorsed positive effects of internet use. However, a significant number of negative effects also were endorsed.
Article
In order to examine the effect of the decreased safety behaviors on social anxiety and negative thoughts and explore the mechanism underlying this effect, this study compared three types of exposure namely, exposure with decreased safety behaviors under cognitive rationale, exposure with decreased safety behaviors under extinction rationale, and exposure with no change in safety behavior. Forty-five social phobics were randomly assigned to one of three exposure groups. Results showed that exposure with decreased safety behaviors under cognitive rationale produced significantly greater reductions in anxiety and belief ratings for feared outcomes than exposure with decreased safety behaviors under extinction rationale and exposure with no change in safety behaviors. These results imply that exposure could be more effective if social phobics are encouraged to drop their safety behaviors in the feared social situation, and that the cognitive process of disconfirmation of negative thoughts is the critical element in determining effectiveness of decreased safety behaviors.
Article
Until recently, there has been limited recognition that diminished positive psychological experiences are important to understanding the nature of social anxiety. Meta-analytic techniques were used to evaluate the strength, consistency, and construct specificity of relations between the social anxiety spectrum with positive affect and curiosity. The social anxiety spectrum had significant inverse relations with positive affect (r=-.36; 95% CI: -.31 to -.40) and curiosity (r=-.24; 95% CI: -.20 to -.28). Relations between social anxiety and positive affect were stronger in studies sampling from clinical populations. Specificity findings (e.g., statistically controlling for depressive symptoms and disorders) further confirmed negative associations with positive affect (r=-.21; 95% CI: -.16 to -.26) and curiosity (r=-.21; 95% CI: -.08 to -.32). The literature on social rank, self-presentation concerns, self-regulatory resources, and experiential avoidance is reviewed and integrated to elaborate a framework of how, why, and when social anxiety may be inversely related to positive experiences. The specificity of theory and data to social interaction anxiety is supported by an examination of existing work on social performance/observation fears and other anxiety conditions. Overall, these findings highlight the importance of diminished positive psychological experiences in understanding excessive social anxiety.
Article
In this study psychometric properties of seven self-report measures of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were compared. The seven scales evaluated were the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS), the PTSD Checklist (PCL), the Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale (PDS), the Civilian Mississippi Scale (CMS), the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), the Penn Inventory for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Penn), and the PK scale of the MMPI-2 (PK). Participants were 239 (79 male and 160 female) trauma-exposed undergraduates. All seven measures exhibited good test-retest reliability and internal consistency. The PDS, PCL and DTS demonstrated the best convergent validity; the IES-R, PDS, and PCL demonstrated the best discriminant validity; and the PDS, PCL, and IES-R demonstrated the best diagnostic utility. Overall, results most strongly support the use of the PDS and the PCL for the assessment of PTSD in this population.
Epilogue—the nature of emotion: a research agenda for the 21st century
  • Fox
Epilogue-the nature of emotion: a research agenda for the 21st century. The Nature of Emotion
  • A S Fox
  • R C Lapate
  • R J Davidson
  • A J Shackman
Fox, A.S., Lapate, R.C., Davidson, R.J., Shackman, A.J., 2017. Epilogue-the nature of emotion: a research agenda for the 21st century. The Nature of Emotion. Fundamental Questions.