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Anxiety Stress Coping. 2015;28(1):71-87. doi: 10.1080/10615806.2014.919386. Epub 2014 May 27.

Social anxiety and the ironic effects of positive interviewer feedback.

Author information

1
a Department of Psychology , Northern Illinois University , Psychology-Computer Science Building, Rm. 400, DeKalb , IL 60115 , USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Positive interviewer feedback should encourage positive experiences and outcomes for interviewees. Yet, positive feedback is inconsistent with socially anxious interviewees' negative self-views. Socially anxious interviewees might experience increased self-focus while attempting to reconcile the inconsistency between their self-perceptions and that feedback. This could interfere with successful interview performance.

DESIGN:

This study used a 3 (feedback: positive, negative, no) × 2 (social anxiety: high, low) between-subjects design.

METHOD:

Undergraduate students (N = 88) completed a measure of dispositional social anxiety. They then engaged in a simulated interview with a White confederate trained to adhere to a standardized script. Interviewees received positive, negative, or no interviewer feedback. Each interview was video recorded to code anxiety displays, impression management tactics, and interview success.

RESULTS:

Following positive feedback, socially anxious interviewees displayed more anxiety, less assertiveness, and received lower success ratings. Among anxious interviewees, increased self-focus provided an indirect path between positive feedback and lower success.

CONCLUSIONS:

Consistent with self-verification theory, anxious interviewees had poorer interview performance following positive feedback that contradicted their negative self-views. Thus, socially anxious interviewees might be at a disadvantage when interviewing, especially following positive feedback. Implications for interviewees and interviewers are discussed.

KEYWORDS:

interview behavior; reactions to feedback; self-focus; self-verification; social anxiety

PMID:
24773204
DOI:
10.1080/10615806.2014.919386
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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