Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 249–267 | Cite as

Public self-awareness and withdrawal from social interactions

  • Lynn E. Alden
  • Michael Teschuk
  • Karen Tee


Women high and low in social self-efficacy participated in a social interaction either under conditions of heightened public self-awareness or in a control condition. The self-awareness manipulation increased self-focused attention and self-evaluation, but only among low-efficacy subjects. Low-efficacy subjects withdrew from the interaction more quickly than did high-efficacy subjects, but only when self-awareness was heightened. Both groups of low-efficacy subjects believed their partners would not like them, and the partners did indeed like these subjects less than the high-efficacy women. These results suggest that low-efficacy women are distinguished by a number of cognitive factors, even in the absence of self-directed attention. Faced with social scrutiny, these individuals engage in a perservative self-evaluation process, which ultimately leads to social withdrawal. The results are interpreted from the perspective of Ingram's (1990) interaction model of self-directed attention.

Key words

public self-awareness self-efficacy 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynn E. Alden
    • 1
  • Michael Teschuk
    • 1
  • Karen Tee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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