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J Anxiety Disord. 2011 Jan;25(1):49-57. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.08.002. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

Social anxiety and posttraumatic stress symptoms: the impact of distressing social events.

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1
Anxiety and Illness Behaviours Laboratory and Department of Psychology, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada. carletor@uregina.ca

Abstract

Recent evidence supports the notion that relatively common social events, such as public humiliation and teasing, may precipitate or exacerbate symptoms of social anxiety disorder (SAD; Erwin et al., 2006; McCabe et al., 2010). In addition, individuals with SAD often report event-specific hallmark symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTSS; e.g., intrusive memories, avoidance, hyperarousal) following significant negative social events. Although intriguing, there is a paucity of research data to date exploring the relationships between negative social events, social anxiety, and PTSS. The present study (1) assessed endorsement rates of negative social events; (2) compared patterns of social anxiety and PTSS reporting among persons reporting negative social events relative to persons reporting the Criterion A1 events associated with posttraumatic stress disorder; and (3) evaluated the interrelationships between social anxiety and PTSS, and common constructs including fear of negative evaluation, anxiety sensitivity, and depression. Participants included community members (n = 601; 74% women; M(age) = 25.8, SD = 9.8) who endorsed experiencing a significantly negative social event. Approximately 55% of all participants reported experiencing a negative social event, with one-third of those indicating it was worse than the Criterion A events they had experienced. Participants reporting negative social events scored higher on measures of social anxiety and PTSS than those reporting only Criterion A events. Trauma symptoms only predicted social anxiety symptoms for participants who reported a negative social event. Comprehensive results and directions for future research are discussed.

PMID:
20800426
DOI:
10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.08.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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