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Now I Always have to Perform Well! Effects of CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder on Negative Interpretations of Positive Social Events

Abstract

Background

Individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) report interpreting social events negatively regardless of valence. Fear of causing discomfort to others and intolerance of uncertainty (IU) are associated with negative interpretations of positive social situations. However, no studies have examined whether these negative interpretations change over CBT for SAD, nor predictors of such changes. This study examined if: negative interpretations of positive social events improve during CBT for SAD; these negative interpretations correlate with social anxiety symptom severity, fear of causing discomfort to others, and IU at the start of treatment; and fear of causing discomfort to others, IU and its subfactors at the start of treatment predict changes in these negative interpretations over treatment.

Methods

Eighty-five treatment-seeking DSM diagnosed individuals with primary SAD completed measures of the tendency to interpret positive events negatively pre-post CBT, and IU and fears of causing discomfort to others at pre-treatment.

Results

Results demonstrated significant pre-post decreases after CBT for SAD in negative interpretations of positive social events. All measures were significantly correlated with each other. None of the pre-treatment variables significantly predicted decreases in negative interpretations of positive social events over treatment.

Conclusions

CBT may be effective in reducing these negative interpretations.

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Data Availability

The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Notes

  1. The data collected for this study were from before the SCID-5 diagnostic interview was released.

  2. Participants with comorbid bipolar disorder and substance abuse/dependence had not met diagnostic criteria for not less than six months for mania or not less than three months for substance abuse/dependence before starting treatment.

  3. Data based on n = 84.

  4. Participants also completed measures of rumination, distress tolerance, anxiety sensitivity, treatment expectancy for change, and reassurance seeking, which are not part of the current study.

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Acknowledgements

This research was hospital funded and not supported by Grant funding. The authors wish to thank Jane Yating Ding, Argie Gingoyon, Ailya Salman, and Robyn Wong Lee for their assistance with data management.

Funding

The study was funded by the hospital and was not supported by Grant funding. Funding was provided by Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

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Authors

Contributions

JL contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation and data collection were performed by JL, JL and YN contributed to data analysis. The first draft of the manuscript was written by YN and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Judith M. Laposa.

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Conflict of Interest

Yasunori Nishikawa, Katie Fracalanza, Neil A. Rector, Judith M. Laposa declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

The hospital’s research ethics board approved this study. All procedures of this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, and its most recent version. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participating in this study.

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No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

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Nishikawa, Y., Fracalanza, K., Rector, N.A. et al. Now I Always have to Perform Well! Effects of CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder on Negative Interpretations of Positive Social Events. Cogn Ther Res (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-022-10322-z

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Keywords

  • Social anxiety
  • Positive social events
  • Fear of causing discomfort to others
  • Intolerance of uncertainty
  • CBT
  • Negative interpretation