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The cognitive and behavioral differences between adolescents with social phobia and their non -anxious peers

Lorena Bradley, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Many adults experiencing Social Phobia report they have had the disorder since adolescence, yet research investigating Social Phobia in adolescents is sparse. Given that many theories and treatments for Social Phobia emphasize the importance of cognitions to the disorder, researchers need to investigate the role of cognitions in Social Phobia in adolescents. In addition, a key component to almost every successful treatment of Social Phobia is behavioral enactment. Thus, the present study investigated cognitions and behavioral responses as well as the association between the two in a sample of adolescents. One hundred twenty-nine adolescents, aged 13 to 17, participated in the current study. Based on diagnostic interviews, adolescents were classified as Socially Phobic or non-anxious. Adolescents participated in two videotaped behavioral tasks (i.e., conversation with a same-sexed peer and an impromptu speech) and behavioral ratings were obtained by participants, independent raters and involved others (i.e., confederates and audience members). Participants also completed the Social Anxiety Thought Questionnaire after each task to assess cognitions during the behavioral tasks. The results of this study suggest that there are significant differences between adolescents classified as Socially Phobic and those classified as non-anxious on their self-reported thoughts and their subjective ratings of behavioral performance, but not on the objective measures of behavioral performance. In addition, results indicate that there is a relationship between adolescents' thoughts and behaviors. Furthermore, associations between thoughts and behaviors were in the direction hypothesized. Specifically, the negative thoughts (i.e., negative social evaluation, general negative evaluation, negative comparison, off-task and negative emotion-focused) tended to be positively associated with anxiety and self-consciousness and negatively related with social skillfulness, while positive coping statements, when related to behavioral ratings, tended to be negatively associated with anxiety and self-consciousness and positively related to social skillfulness. These results provide interesting implications for theory, treatment, and future research. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Bradley, Lorena, "The cognitive and behavioral differences between adolescents with social phobia and their non -anxious peers" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3126943.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3126943

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