The effect of attentional focus on social anxiety

Judy B. Zou, Jennifer L. Hudson*, Ronald M. Rapee

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)
    24 Downloads (Pure)


    The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of attentional focus on social anxiety in a group of high and low blushing-anxious subjects. One hundred and fourteen psychology undergraduate students were screened using the Fear of Blushing subscale of the Blushing Questionnaire [Bögels, S. M., & Reith, W. (1999). Validity of two questionnaires to assess social fears: The Dutch social phobia and anxiety questionnaire and the blushing, trembling and sweating questionnaire. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 21, 51-66]. Those with the most extreme scores in the top and bottom 20% of the distribution were selected to form a high (n=22) and a low (n=22) blushing-anxious group. Subjects were randomly allocated to either a self-focused attention (SFA) condition or a task-focused attention (TFA) condition. They were asked to engage in a 5 min conversation with the first author, and were instructed to either self-focus (SFA condition) or task-focus (TFA condition). Levels of social anxiety and self-awareness were measured using visual analogue scales. Results suggest that the there was a significant condition by group interaction, with high blushing individuals showing considerably higher levels of social anxiety in the SFA condition compared to the TFA condition while low blushing individuals showed no significant difference across the two conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2326-2333
    Number of pages8
    JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


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