Valentiner, David P.
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
Department of Psychology
Social phobia is a common and debilitating disorder in which dysfunctional cognitions play an important role in its maintenance. There is controversy surrounding how to make the distinction between two common subtypes of this disorder, generalized (GSP) and specific (SSP) social phobia. The quantitative theory bases the distinction between subtypes on the severity of symptoms, with GSP being more severe than SSP, whereas the qualitative theory bases this distinction on the type of social situations feared. SSP individuals are thought to fear mostly performance-based social situations, and individuals with GSP are differentiated by their fear of social situations involving interactions with others. To further examine the qualitative distinction strategy, a manipulation task was designed to elicit the potential cognitive differences between people with interaction anxiety (i.e., GSP) and people with performance anxiety (i.e., SSP). This study was a three-part project. First, a pilot study was performed (N = 396) to determine a strategy for classifying social phobia subtypes in an analogue sample. Second, a screening phase was performed (N = 756) to assess participants' eligibility for membership into an interaction anxiety (IA) group, performance anxiety (PA) group, and nonanxious control (NAC) group. Third, selected participants (N = 30 per group) were randomly assigned to give a speech in one of two conditions: (1) the self-evaluative condition, which was intended to heighten concerns associated with IA, and (2) the other-evaluative condition, which was intended to heighten concerns associated with PA. During both conditions, participants' heart rate, type of evaluative thought (i.e., self and other), and subjective anxiety responses were assessed. The tentative conclusion of this study is that IA and PA individuals do not have differences in their pattern of responses to these experimental conditions. However, as the efficacy of the manipulation was questionable, this study was not thought to have been an adequate assessment of the theory used in its development. Methodological and theoretical concerns regarding the assessment strategies, manipulations, and grouping criteria are examined. Future research directions are suggested.
Hook, Julie N., "Cognitive features of social phobia subtypes" (2002). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 1828.
vi, 124,  pages
Northern Illinois University
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Includes bibliographical references (pages -104)