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Social interpretations in generalized social phobia : subtitle the influence of social development factors Taylor, Charles Theodore

Abstract

Interpersonal theorists propose that developmental experiences influence people's interpretations of and reactions to contemporary social events. This study examined social interpretations in a sample of 42 patients with generalized social phobia and 42 nonclinical control participants. Participants engaged in a getting acquainted interaction with an experimental assistant whose behaviour was used to create either a positive or an ambiguous social environment. Overall, participants with social phobia did not interpret their partner's behaviour differently than did the community control group. However, some individuals with social phobia, notably those with social developmental histories marked by parental overprotection and emotional and physical abuse, did display distinct patterns of social interpretation. In addition, early social environments characterized by overprotection affected the behaviour of people with social phobia, and, in turn, their partner's liking for them. Discussion focuses on theoretical and clinical implications of the present findings within the context of an interpersonal perspective on social phobia.

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