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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/878

Title: Attentional demands and recall of interpersonal information in social anxiety disorder
Authors: Greenberg Saluck, Robyn S.
Keywords: Clinical psychology;Anxiety--Social aspects;Memory
Issue Date: 27-Jul-2006
Abstract: People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) have been shown to have an attentional bias toward anxiety-related cognitions and physical symptoms. If disproportionate attention is directed towards these stimuli, a decreased ability to focus on interpersonal information may result. The ability to follow a conversation so that one can respond appropriately, and the ability to remember details at a later time such as during another discussion with that same person, is an important social skill. With excessive threat-focused attention, a person may not be able to attend to the details of a social interaction, and therefore will not recall them later. Such impaired attention may additionally increase anxiety in a socially anxious person, and according to cognitive theory, may then serve to increase further negative cognitions and anxious symptomatology. This research examined the ability of people with SAD to recall details of an interpersonal interaction, both pertinent and incidental, after engaging in a social interaction. It was hypothesized that persons with generalized SAD, in comparison to normal controls, would have (a) higher self-focused attention (both state and trait), (b) poorer recall of details than normal controls after participation in a behavioral role play test, and (c) comparable recall after observation of a social interaction. It was also hypothesized that (d) self-focused attention (state and trait) would be related to poorer recall in all participants. Nineteen individuals with SAD and 19 matched controls took part in this study. Results revealed that, relative to non-anxious controls, those with SAD (a) had higher state and trait self-focused attention, (b) did not demonstrate memory deficit for details related to the role play interaction, and (c) had equivalent recall of information when observing a social situation. Furthermore, (d) state self-focused attention was related to and predictive of poorer recall of the interpersonal interaction in participants with SAD, but not in non-anxious controls. Results indicate that although persons with SAD in general are able to remember details from a conversation and about their social partner, those with high self-focused attention specifically were deficient in this area. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are also discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/878
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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