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Thursday, June 9 • 10:30 - 12:00
Self-affirmation increases social behavior engagement in the socially anxious LIMITED

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The costs of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) are high across a range of outcomes including academic, employment, interpersonal, and mental health domains (Katzelnick et al., 2001). This can partly be attributed to the high level of threat that persons with SAD perceive in day-to-day social behaviors and their resulting avoidance of, or poor performance in, social interactions. Perceived threat and avoidance can also hinder treatment efforts which often require exposure to social interactions (Dalrymple, 2012). In this presentation I discuss why self-affirmation (SA; Sherman & Hartson, 2011) may facilitate engagement in avoided social behaviors by those with social anxiety and improve their performance. I then describe the intriguing results of an experiment which showed that socially anxious participants who self-affirmed (n = 36) (relative to those who did not, n = 39) did not perform any better, or show less anxiety, in dealing with an immediate laboratory stressor, yet one-month later reported an increase in social behaviors, less distress when engaging in those social behaviours, and reduced fear in general of social activity. I then conclude with consideration of the implications of these findings for possible mechanisms of self-affirmation and directions for future research to explore SA's possible role in treatment.


Edward Johnson

University of Manitoba

avatar for Clinical Psychology / Psychologie clinique

Clinical Psychology / Psychologie clinique

The Section on Clinical Psychology is one of the largest sections of CPA, and it serves to represent the professional and scientific interests of its members to CPA and to reflect the profession at the national level within Canada. Its mission is to "promote clinical psychology in its broadest definition as a science and a profession to the public, other service providers, clinical psychologists, and the government.

Thursday June 9, 2016 10:30 - 12:00
Oak Bay 2 (Victoria Conference Centre - Level 1) 720 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8W 3M7

Attendees (12)