4 years ago

Experiential Self-Focus in Social Anxiety Disorder: Is it Beneficial?

Alice R. Norton, Maree J. Abbott
Objective Self-focused processing is a significant maintaining factor in cognitive models of social anxiety disorder (SAD), but it may also be analytic (detached, evaluative, maladaptive) or experiential (concrete, nonevaluative, adaptive). The current study aimed to investigate the effect of self-focus modes in a sample meeting criteria for SAD as previous studies have yielded mixed results. Method Individuals meeting criteria for SAD and nonanxious controls (N = 80, 77.5% female; mean age = 19.46) were randomly allocated to complete a task inducing analytic or experiential self-focused processing, followed by a social interaction task, including measurement of affective and cognitive variables. Results Controls demonstrated the expected benefits of experiential compared to analytic self-focus on social anxiety, negative affect, and self-beliefs. Unexpectedly, SAD participants reported no difference between self-focus conditions. Conclusion Results suggest that experiential processing may have no benefit for SAD individuals proximal to a social threat. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/jclp.22503

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