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Information processing in social phobia : the effect of social appraisal on the anxiety program Mellings, Tanna Marlane Boucher

Abstract

This study examined several aspects of the anxiety program described in the Clark and Wells' (1995; Clark, 2001) cognitive model of social phobia, and provided information about the relationship between some of these variables. This study also examined the effect of social appraisals on cognition, affect, and self-protection. Positive and negative interpersonal appraisals were manipulated in 42 patients with social phobia and 42 community control participants. Participants then engaged in a social interaction with a confederate based on the reciprocity self-disclosure paradigm. Participants completed measures of cognitive appraisal, focus of attention, recall, affect, and self-disclosure. Personnel completed similar measures. Results revealed that, consistent with the cognitive model, individuals with social phobia displayed more self-focused attention, more negative affect, and more selfprotective behaviours, i.e. were less self-disclosive, than non-phobic control participants. There were no differences on the recall measure. The results suggested that it was possible to manipulate social appraisals. Interestingly, the largest discrepancy between participants with social phobia and controls occurred for self-disclosure in the positive social appraisal condition. The results also provided some clarification about the temporal sequence among the components of the anxiety program, and the role of self-focused attention in social phobia.

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