A large body of experimental evidence has demonstrated the adverse effects of rumination on depressive mood and cognitions. In contrast, while prominent models of social phobia (Clark & Wells, 1995; Rapee & Heimberg, 1997) have proposed rumination as a key maintaining factor, the effects of rumination in social anxiety have not been extensively explored. In a sample of (N = 93) undergraduates, this study investigated the impact of rumination versus distraction following a social-evaluative task on anxiety and another key component of social phobia: maladaptive self-beliefs. Relative to distraction, rumination maintained anxiety in both high and low socially anxious individuals, and maintained unconditional beliefs in high socially anxious individuals. The results support models of social phobia and also suggest important theoretical extensions. Implications for the treatment of social anxiety are discussed.
- Social anxiety