ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 2, Issue 4, 571-585, 2011
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Biased self-perception of social skills in anxious children: The role of state anxiety

Helen F. Dodd, Jennifer L. Hudson, Heidi J. Lyneham, Viviana M. Wuthrich, Talia Morris, Laurie Monier
Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University

Volume 2, Issue 4, 2011, Pages 571-585

The role of state and trait anxiety on observer ratings of social skill and negatively biased self-perception of social skill was examined. Participants were aged between 7 and 13 years (M = 9.65; SD = 1.77; N = 102), 47 had a current anxiety diagnosis and 55 were non-anxious controls. Participants were randomly allocated to a high or low anxiety condition and asked to complete social tasks. Task instructions were adjusted across conditions to manipulate participants' state anxiety. Observers rated anxious participants as having poorer social skills than non-anxious controls but there was no evidence that anxious participants exhibited a negative self-perception bias, relative to controls. However, as participants' ratings of state anxiety increased, their perception of their performance became more negatively biased. The results suggest that anxious children may exhibit real impairments in social skill and that high levels of state anxiety can lead to biased judgements of social skills in anxious and non-anxious children.

Table of Contents
  Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule (ADIS-IV-C/P).
  Spence Children's Anxiety Scale.
  Subjective Fear Rating.
  Performance Questionnaire (PQ-C/O).
  Social Skills Tasks.
 Data Analysis
  Dependent variables.
  Independent variables.
  Analysis outline.
 Descriptives and preliminary analyses
 Social skills
  Trait anxiety.
  State anxiety.
 Self-perception bias
  Trait anxiety.
  State anxiety.
 Strengths and limitations
 Clinical implications

Correspondence to
Associate Professor Jennifer Hudson, Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia.

social skills, state anxiety, social phobia, children, anxiety, cognitive bias

Received 7 Feb 2011; Revised 14 May 2011; Accepted 15 May 2011; In Press 11 Dec 2011

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