The effect of situational structure on the social performance of socially anxious and non-anxious participants

Simon Thompson, Ronald M. Rapee*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    39 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Twenty-six socially anxious and 24 low-anxious female undergraduate students were observed in brief unstructured and structured hetero-social interactions with a confederate. The unstructured interaction was a naturalistic interaction in which participants were observed surreptitiously. The structured interaction was a role-play in which participants were instructed to try and get to know as much as possible about their partner. Videotapes of the interactions were subsequently rated on subjective and objective measures of social skill. The results showed that high socially anxious females performed somewhat worse than low socially anxious females in both situations. However, this difference was far larger in the unstructured social situation and was relatively small in the structured social situation. It appears that socially anxious females do perform more poorly in social interactions than do low-anxious females, but a large component of this poor performance may be a result of avoidance rather than a lack of ability.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)91-102
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
    Volume33
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2002

    Keywords

    • social anxiety
    • social skills
    • performance
    • public speaking

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