BEING SOCIALLY ANXIOUS IS NOT ENOUGH: RESPONSE EXPECTANCY MEDIATES THE EFFECT OF SOCIAL ANXIETY ON STATE ANXIETY IN RESPONSE TO A SOCIAL-EVALUATIVE THREAT
Ioana R. PODINĂ*1 & Andreea VÎSLĂ1,2 1
Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2 Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
A core assumption of the cognitive-behavioral models of social anxiety is that cognitions mediate the relationship between trait social anxiety and the amount of anxiety experienced in a social-evaluative situation. The current study aimed to extend this line of research by testing response expectancy for anxiety (i.e., the anticipation of anxiety responses) as a mediator of the relationship between social anxiety and state anxiety in response to an impromptu speech task. We used a cross-sectional design. Eighty-six socially anxious participants, scoring 30 or higher on the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, completed a baseline rating of their state anxiety, an assessment of their anticipated anxiety during the speech task, as well as a rating of their anxiety levels during the actual speech task. As predicted, response expectancy mediated the relationship between social anxiety and state anxiety during the impromptu speech task, indirect effect = .068, SE = .016, 95% CI = [.039; .104]. Interestingly, when controlling for response expectancy, there was no longer a relation between social anxiety and state anxiety. Results support a specific pathway from social anxiety to state anxiety through response expectancies. Clinical and theoretical implications are discussed.
Keywords: response expectancy, social anxiety, state anxiety, mechanism.