Event Title

Early Maladaptive Schemas and Social Anxiety: Interpretation Bias as a Mediator

Presenter Information

Lance Johns

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

Psychology

Start Date

5-21-2015 6:00 PM

End Date

5-21-2015 6:30 PM

Abstract

Cognitive models of social anxiety suggest that individual styles of information processing may produce and maintain social anxiety. A particularly robust finding among the social anxiety literature is an interpretation bias. Socially anxious individuals tend to interpret ambiguous social scenarios more negatively than non-socially anxious individuals. Additionally, research has also suggested a lack of a positive interpretation bias in socially anxious persons. A possible explanation for the root of interpretational biases is the role of Early Maladaptive Schemas (EMS). Schemas have been proposed to act as a filter in sorting and processing information, leading to a confirmation bias. Three EMS domains in particular (disconnection/rejection, impaired autonomy/performance, and other-directedness) have been found to be predictive of social anxiety. Therefore, in the present study it is hypothesized that the relationship between EMS and social anxiety occurs indirectly through interpretational biases. Results revealed that a negative interpretation bias mediated the relationship between the three schema domains of interest and social anxiety. Moreover, the relationship between the disconnection/rejection domain and social anxiety was also mediated by a lack of positive interpretation bias. These findings highlight the role of schemas in perpetuating social anxiety through interpretational biases. Those with schemas in the aforementioned domains, particularly in the disconnection/rejection domain, may interpret social situations more negatively and less positively; thus producing and maintaining their anxiety symptoms. Targeting these schema domains may be of particular importance in schema therapy. Further results and discussion is presented in the poster.

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May 21st, 6:00 PM May 21st, 6:30 PM

Early Maladaptive Schemas and Social Anxiety: Interpretation Bias as a Mediator

Cognitive models of social anxiety suggest that individual styles of information processing may produce and maintain social anxiety. A particularly robust finding among the social anxiety literature is an interpretation bias. Socially anxious individuals tend to interpret ambiguous social scenarios more negatively than non-socially anxious individuals. Additionally, research has also suggested a lack of a positive interpretation bias in socially anxious persons. A possible explanation for the root of interpretational biases is the role of Early Maladaptive Schemas (EMS). Schemas have been proposed to act as a filter in sorting and processing information, leading to a confirmation bias. Three EMS domains in particular (disconnection/rejection, impaired autonomy/performance, and other-directedness) have been found to be predictive of social anxiety. Therefore, in the present study it is hypothesized that the relationship between EMS and social anxiety occurs indirectly through interpretational biases. Results revealed that a negative interpretation bias mediated the relationship between the three schema domains of interest and social anxiety. Moreover, the relationship between the disconnection/rejection domain and social anxiety was also mediated by a lack of positive interpretation bias. These findings highlight the role of schemas in perpetuating social anxiety through interpretational biases. Those with schemas in the aforementioned domains, particularly in the disconnection/rejection domain, may interpret social situations more negatively and less positively; thus producing and maintaining their anxiety symptoms. Targeting these schema domains may be of particular importance in schema therapy. Further results and discussion is presented in the poster.