ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 2, Issue 4, 531-550, 2011
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Subjective and Objective Arousal Correspondence and the Role of Self-monitoring Processes in High and Low Socially Anxious Youth

A. C. Miers, A. W. Blote, S. R. Sumter, V. L. Kallen, and P. M. Westenberg
Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Institute of Psychology, Unit Developmental and Educational Psychology, Leiden University

Volume 2, Issue 4, 2011, Pages 531-550

Previous research found weak correspondence between subjective and objective arousal measures during social-evaluative tasks, particularly in high socially anxious individuals. This study evaluated subjective-objective correspondence in high versus low socially anxious youth (9-17 years). Sixty-six high (HSA; 38 boys and 28 girls) and 61 low (LSA; 37 boys and 24 girls) socially anxious youth participated in a speech task, with a moderately (pre-speech), high (speech), and low anxious (recovery) phase. Subjective experience of nervousness, heart rate and sweaty palms were measured along with salivary cortisol, actual heart rate, and skin conductance. Participants also completed questionnaires measuring 3 self-monitoring variables; self-focused attention, emotional awareness, and negative thoughts. Results showed that HSA participants had exaggerated perceptions of their physiological arousal. However, they did not have weaker subjective-objective correspondence than LSA participants. Correspondence was rather low in both groups. Finally, inclusion of the self-monitoring variables improved the prediction of subjectively experienced arousal in both groups.

Table of Contents
 Degree of Correspondence between Subjective and Objective Arousal
 Self-monitoring Processes and Subjective-Objective Correspondence
 Current Study
  Subjective arousal.
  Social Anxiety.
  Negative thoughts.
  Emotional awareness.
  Self-focused attention.
  Public speaking task.
  Physiological reactivity.
  Neuroendocrine response.
 Data Analyses
 Research Question 1: Group Differences in Mean Subjective and Objective Physiological Arousal between High and Low Socially Anxious Youth
 Research Question 2: Is the Within-Group Correspondence between Subjective and Objective Arousal Weaker in High versus Low Socially Anxious Individuals? And; Research Question 3: Is this Group Difference Related to State Anxiety Level as Elicited by the Task Phase?
 Research Question 4: Do High as Compared to Low Socially Anxious Youth Rely More on Self-monitoring Processes than Actual Changes in Objective Physiological Arousal when Estimating their Subjective Arousal?

Correspondence to
Anne C. Miers. Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Institute of Psychology, Unit Developmental and Educational Psychology, Pieter de la Court building, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB, Leiden, the Netherlands.

social anxiety, youth, subjective arousal, physical arousal, self-monitoring

Received 29 Nov 2010; Revised 16 May 2011; Accepted 20 May 2011; In Press 11 Dec 2011

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