In the Presence of Social Threat: Implicit and Explicit Self-Esteem in Social Anxiety Disorder
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- Ritter, V., Ertel, C., Beil, K. et al. Cogn Ther Res (2013) 37: 1101. doi:10.1007/s10608-013-9553-0
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The present study investigated implicit and explicit self-esteem and the effects of co-morbid depressive disorders on both in a clinical sample of patients with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) (n = 40), and in healthy controls (n = 35) following social-threat induction (giving an impromptu speech). Implicit self-esteem was assessed using an implicit association test. Explicit self-esteem was measured with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Results indicated that SAD patients had significantly lower implicit self-esteem, relative to healthy controls, and were also characterized by lower explicit self-esteem. Depressed SAD patients revealed more negative explicit self-esteem than non-depressed SAD patients, but no such group differences were found in implicit self-esteem. There were also strong relationships between patients’ explicit self-esteem and symptoms of social anxiety and depression. The findings support cognitive models of SAD and suggest that biased self-processing works on both implicit and explicit levels. Further, it seems that social anxiety and depression are characterized by differential implicit self-evaluative processes.