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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2006 Apr;34(2):189-201. Epub 2006 Mar 2.

Cognitive correlates of social phobia among children and adolescents.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


We examined different cognitive phenomena in relation to social phobia among children (aged 7 to 11) and adolescents (aged 12-16) separately. Fifty socially phobic youths were compared to 30 normal control children on measures of social anxiety, social expectation as well as self- and observer-rated performance during two social tasks involving a same-aged peer. Additionally, a video-mediated recall procedure was conducted immediately following the two behavioral tasks to examine specific types of self-talk. Results indicated that socially phobic youths had lower expectations of their performance and rated their actual performance worse than controls during a social interaction task, but not a read-aloud task. Self-ratings of decreased performance among socially phobic youths were corroborated by blind observers. Although differences in specific types of self-talk were found between the two groups, these findings were generally moderated by age. Furthermore, certain cognitive symptoms associated with the disorder were more commonly found among older socially phobic youths. The current findings highlight the importance of considering developmental factors in the presentation and treatment of social phobia in youths.

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