Out of my league: Appraisals of anxiety and confidence in others by individuals with and without social anxiety disorder
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Forty participants with social anxiety disorder (SAD) and 42 healthy controls (HCs) were randomized to watch a confederate deliver a speech in either a visibly anxious or confident manner. Participants rated their perception of the presenter's desirability across five attributes and compared themselves to the presenter along these same dimensions. Participants then delivered their own speeches, and were rated in a similar manner by trained research assistants who were naïve to participants' group status and study objectives. Results demonstrated that all participants, irrespective of group status, judged the visibly anxious presenter as being less desirable and the confident presenter as more desirable. Socially anxious participants tended to view themselves as inferior to confident others. Coders also rated participants with SAD, based on their speeches, as being less interpersonally desirable than HCs. These results suggest that individuals who appear visibly anxious may be objectively disadvantaged in their ability to make a positive first impression on others. We discuss these findings in relation to theoretical models of social anxiety and explore how to address such interpersonal factors in psychological interventions for SAD.
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