ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 5, Issue 2, 151-167, 2014
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Social Anxiety, Anticipatory Processing and Negative Expectancies for an Interpersonal Task in Middle Childhood

Stephanos P. Vassilopoulos(1), Nicholas J. Moberly(2), Panagiotis Tsoumanis(1)
(1) University of Patras, Greece
(2) University of Exeter, UK

Volume 5, Issue 2, 2014, Pages 151-167

Cognitive models assume that socially anxious individuals engage in negatively-biased anticipatory processing that enhances anxiety and exacerbates maladaptive cognitions. To date little is known about this anticipatory processing and its relationship with mood and predicted performance in socially anxious children. In the present study, a school sample of 181 children (aged 10-11 years) was instructed to either engage in anticipatory processing or perform a distraction task while preparing to give a speech in front of the class. Results showed that trait social anxiety was associated with more negative estimates of personal appearance and catastrophic thoughts relating to speech performance. Following the manipulation, children in the distraction condition showed significant reductions in state anxiety, but children in the anticipation condition did not. Furthermore, children in the anticipation condition gave more negative predictions of personal appearance during the speech task than children in the distraction condition. Crucially, trait social anxiety was 'more strongly associated with catastrophic thinking and negative expectations of their personal appearance when children were instructed to engage in anticipatory processing rather than distraction. The findings provide further support for the suggestion that anticipatory processing plays a role in maintaining childhood social anxiety.

Table of Contents
 Anticipatory Processing in Children
  Social Anxiety Scale for Children-Revised (SASC-R; LaGreca & Stone, 1993).
  Children’s Depression Inventory – short form (CDI; Kovacs, 1992).
  Specific Behaviour and Overall Appearance Checklist.
  The Thoughts Questionnaire (TQ).
  State Anxiety.
  Induction task materials.
 Preliminary Analyses
 Effects of Threat Induction and Anticipation Manipulation on State Anxiety
 Effects of Social Anxiety and the Anticipation Manipulation on Negative Appearance
  Effects of Social Anxiety and the Anticipation Manipulation on Catastrophic Thoughts about the Task
Appendix A: The Thoughts Questionnaire
Appendix B: Anticipatory Processing Induction Items

Correspondence to
Stephanos P. Vassilopoulos, Department of Primary Education, University of Patras, Patras, 26 110, Greece.

Social anxiety; Social phobia; Anticipatory processing, Children, Cognition

Received 28 Sep 2012; Revised 30 Jul 2013; Accepted 2 Nov 2013; In Press 11 Jun 2014

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