Author(s): Glashouwer KA, Vroling MS, de Jong PJ, Lange WG, de Keijser J
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Negative automatic associations towards the self and social cues are assumed to play an important role in social anxiety disorder. We tested whether social anxiety disorder patients (n = 45) showed stronger dysfunctional automatic associations than non-clinical controls (n = 45) and panic disorder patients (n = 24) and whether there existed gender differences in this respect. METHODS: We used a single-target Implicit Association Test and an Implicit Association Test to measure dysfunctional automatic associations with social cues and implicit self-esteem, respectively. RESULTS: Results showed that automatic associations with social cues were more dysfunctional in socially anxious patients than in both control groups, suggesting this might be a specific characteristic of social anxiety disorder. Socially anxious patients showed relatively low implicit self-esteem compared to non-clinical controls, whereas panic disorder patients scored in between both groups. Unexpectedly, we found that lower implicit self-esteem was related to higher severity of social anxiety symptoms in men, whereas no such relationship was found in women. CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the view that automatic negative associations with social cues and lowered implicit self-esteem may both help to enhance our understanding of the cognitive processes that underlie social anxiety disorder. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry
and referenced in International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology