ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 7, Issue 4, 632-654, 2016
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Fears of Positive versus Negative Evaluation: Distinct and conjoint neuroendocrine, emotional, and cardiovascular responses to social threat

  Justin Weeks - Center for Evaluation and Treatment of Anxiety, Department of Psychology, Porter Hall 200, Ohio University,
  Peggy Zoccola - Psychosocial Processes and Health Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Porter Hall 200, Ohio University,

Volume 7, Issue 4, 2016, Pages 632-654


Fear of evaluation in general is important in social anxiety, including fear of positive evaluation (FPE) and fear of negative evaluation (FNE). The present study examined various FPE- and FNE-associated state responses (i.e., affective, cardiovascular, and neuroendocrine) to an impromptu speech task which integrated simultaneous and systematic delivery of positive and negative social threat cues (n=100 [unselected]). Both FPE and FNE related positively to state anxiety and heart rate changes from anticipation of the speech to during the speech itself, and these effects were partly conjoint and partly unique. Furthermore, high FPE alone was associated with dampened cortisol in response to the speech task in contrast to a more normative, robust response to social threat. Last, consistent with hypothesis and prior findings, state anxiety during the speech mediated the relationship between trait FPE and state disqualification of positive social outcomes (a mental safety behavior for FPE-related state anxiety). These results further inform upon the commonalities and distinctions between these two socio-evaluative fears. Implications for the theoretical conceptualization and treatment of social anxiety are discussed.

Table of Contents
  Trait measures.
  State measures.
  Pre-speech appraisals.
  Post-speech appraisals.
  Cortisol Measures.
 Data analysis strategy
 Preliminary Analyses
 Hypothesis 1: Relations between FPE, FNE, and state anxiety
  Fear of Positive Evaluation.
  Fear of Negative Evaluation.
 Hypothesis 2: Relations between FPE, FNE, and heart rate
  Fear of Positive Evaluation.
  Fear of Negative Evaluation.
 Hypothesis 3: Relations between FPE, FNE, and cortisol
 Hypothesis 4: State anxiety as a mediator between trait FPE and disqualifying the positive

Correspondence to
Justin Weeks, The Nebraska Medical Center, Department of Psychology, Omaha, NE.

Social anxiety disorder; Social anxiety; Fear of Evaluation; Cortisol; Heart rate

Received 16 Feb 2016; Revised 26 Jul 2016; Accepted 26 Jul 2016; In Press 25 Sep 2016

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