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Can I Really Do This? An Examination of Anticipatory Event Processing in Social Anxiety Disorder

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Clark and Wells (1995) posit that anticipatory processing before a social situation serves to maintain social anxiety. More specifically, ruminative processes similar to post-event processing (PEP) may occur in anticipation of anxiety provoking social events, and in this article, we have labelled this type of anticipatory rumination anticipatory event processing (AnEP). Participants (n = 75) with social anxiety disorder (SAD) completed measures of anticipatory event processing, trait anxious rumination, social anxiety, state anxiety, and PEP, in the context of completing videotaped exposures twice as part of manual-based group cognitive behavioral therapy. AnEP was significantly positively associated with trait anxious rumination and social anxiety and was associated with state anxiety during the first videotaping. AnEP at the two time points was significantly correlated and decreased across the two taped exposures. Greater AnEP at the first taping was associated with greater PEP the following week. PEP after the first videotaped exposure then significantly related to AnEP for the second videotaped exposure several weeks later. Discussion focuses on the similarities between PEP and AnEP as well as implications for cognitive models and treatment of SAD.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2016

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