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The contributions of arousal and selffocused attention to avoidance in social anxiety


Grisham, JR and King, BJ and Makkar, SR and Felmingham, KL, The contributions of arousal and selffocused attention to avoidance in social anxiety, Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 28, (3) pp. 303-320. ISSN 1061-5806 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.1080/10615806.2014.968144


Background: Socially anxious individuals are theorized to avoid social cues and engage in safety behaviors to prevent negative evaluation, which prevents disconfirmation of social fears. Cognitive models propose that this avoidance is driven by (1) self-focused attention (SFA) and (2) physiological arousal.

Design: To examine these proposed mechanisms, we compared high socially anxious (HSA; n =29) and low socially anxious (LSA; n = 28) participants on a view-time task involving faces.

Method: Participants engaged in a task in which they viewed socially threatening (i.e., disgust, anger) and nonthreatening (i.e., happy, neutral) faces.

Results: Results revealed that HSA participants endorsed greater SFA during the view-time task and spent less time viewing angry, disgusted, and neutral facial expressions relative to LSA participants. Regression analyses revealed that arousal, as indexed by salivary α-amylase, was a unique predictor of increased face-viewing time among HSA participants. In contrast, arousal predicted decreased face-viewing time among LSA participants.

Conclusions: Findings underscore the need for further investigation of avoidance mechanisms in social anxiety.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:social anxiety, salivary alpha amylase, avoidance, arousal, self-focused attention
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Biological psychology
Research Field:Behavioural neuroscience
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Felmingham, KL (Professor Kim Felmingham)
ID Code:97589
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2014-12-24
Last Modified:2017-11-07

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