Social-cognitive factors in childhood social anxiety: A preliminary investigation

Banerjee, Robin and Henderson, Lynne (2001) Social-cognitive factors in childhood social anxiety: A preliminary investigation. Social Development, 10 (4). pp. 558-572. ISSN 0961-205X

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The present study addresses the social cognition of socially anxious children, with particular emphasis on their ability to understand others' mental states in interpersonal situations. The heterogeneous sample used in this preliminary investigation consisted of 63 primary school children in England and the USA. The English children were from a mainstream classroom of 8- to 9-year-olds, while the children from the USA ranged in age from 6 to 11 years and had been selected by school district officials for a variety of social interaction difficulties. All children completed measures of social anxiety, shy negative affect, and various social-cognitive abilities, and teacher ratings of social skills were additionally available for the USA subgroup. Results showed that feelings of social anxiety are not associated with any basic deficit in the understanding of recursive mental states which concern facts about the physical world. However, there was evidence that socially anxious children-particularly those with high levels of shy negative affect-do experience specific social-cognitive difficulties in understanding the links between emotions, intentions, and beliefs in social situations. Providing further support for this link, socially anxious children were rated by their teachers as poorer than non-anxious children only on social skills that require insight into others' mental states. Directions for further examination of this complex interplay between cognitive and emotional factors in the development of social anxiety, are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: First author
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Robin Banerjee
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:41
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2012 09:12
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