Social anxiety, attention control, and performance deficits

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Steven Michael Daniels (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kari Eddington

Abstract: Theory and research link social anxiety with negative self-focused attention (i.e., heightened preoccupation with negative thoughts, observer-perspective images, and somatic responses). Negative self-focused attention, in turn, is associated with performance deficits on both social and non-social tasks. However, individual differences in attention control have been linked with a reduction in attention biases associated with general anxiety. Working memory capacity represents one construct theoretically and empirically linked with individual differences in attention control. The current study, therefore, tested a moderated mediation model in which negative self-focused attention was proposed to mediate the relationship between social anxiety and conversation performance deficits, and working memory capacity was proposed to moderate the relationship between social anxiety and negative self-focused attention. Results support the proposed model when verbal cognition (i.e., thoughts) is the target of negative self-focused attention. Results were mixed for other targets of self-focus (i.e., observer-perspective images, somatic responses, and general self-focus). Clinical and research implications for current and future study and treatment of social anxiety are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Attention, Performance, Self-Focused Attention, Social Anxiety, Working Memory
Social phobia $x Research

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