Debra M. GLICK, Susan M. ORSILLO
Suffolk University, Boston, USA
Self-focused attention is a notable feature of social anxiety, yet research has not established its function. We hypothesized that self-focused attention may reflect attempts to control or alter internal experiences (i.e., experiential avoidance). Undergraduates high in social anxiety reported more fear of losing control over emotions, more thought suppression, more distress about emotions, and less perceived control over emotions than did those low in social anxiety. Finally, experiential distress and avoidance was a partial mediator of the relationship between self-focused attention and scores on a measure of social anxiety. Implications for the treatment of social anxiety are discussed.
Keywords: social anxiety, social phobia, acceptance, experiential avoidance