University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


Social anxiety is characterized by a fear of negative evaluation and avoidance of social situations. Clark and Wells (1995) suggest that socially anxious individuals tend to self-monitor, but Rapee and Heimberg (1997) posit that this may interact with another inclination to searchfor external threat cues, which could exacerbate social anxiety. In the current study, participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions in a conversation task. Confederates gave critical and judgmental cues in the critical condition and neutral cues in the neutral condition Results show a trend toward significance for an interaction such that socially anxious participants in the critical condition engaged in self-focused attention m ore than the low social anxiety group, while social anxiety groups had similar levels of self-focused attention in the neutral condition. In the critical condition, socially anxious individuals reported significantly fewer positive thoughts about themselves than those in the low social anxiety group.