Social Anxiety Disorder Constructs: Beyond Fearing Negative Evaluation
Teale, Michelle J.N.
Carleton, R. Nicholas
Asmundson, Gordon J.G.
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Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a severely distressing disorder that interferes with activities of daily living for 7-13% of the population, making it a significant mental health concern (Kessler et al., 2005). Pioneering cognitive models of SAD underscored fear of negative evaluation as a central cognitive construct contributing to the development and maintenance of the disorder (Clark & Wells, 1995). Other cognitive constructs have since been shown as predictive of social anxiety symptoms, including fear of positive evaluation (Weeks, Heimberg, & Rodebaugh, 2008), anxiety sensitivity (Rodriguez, Bruce, Pagano, Spencer, & Keller, 2004), and most recently, intolerance of uncertainty (Carleton, Collimore, & Asmundson, 2010). The current study extends Carleton and colleagues’ (2010) work by concurrently examining all of the aforementioned cognitive constructs and assessing those relationships within a clinical sample. Participants meeting diagnostic criteria for SAD are currently being recruited (n=40 currently completed, estimated final total of n=80 expected by early March) to complete measures of social anxiety symptoms and each of the constructs of interest. Analyses to date suggest intolerance of uncertainty (p<.05), along with anxiety sensitivity (p<.05), and fear of positive evaluation (p<.05) account for variance in SAD symptoms comparable to the variance accounted for by the classically hallmark construct, fear of negative evaluation. The results of such investigations provide important directions for clinicians (i.e., targets for cognitive therapies) and researchers (i.e., avenues for building comprehensive predictive models). Comprehensive results, implications, and directions for future research will be discussed.