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Title: Cognitive biases in social anxiety : a cross cultural investigation
Author: Al-Khodair, Ghada
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 7107
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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Social anxiety disorder is defined as fear of others' negative evaluation, and is directly associated with social norms and others' social expectations. In order to fully understand the maintenance of social anxiety as outline by cognitive models of social anxiety (Clark & Wells, 1995; Rapee & Heimberg, 1997), the role of culture must be examined. The current thesis examines social anxiety, social anxiety cognitive biases, fear of negative evaluation (FNE), fear of positive evaluation (FPE), post-event processing (PEP) and negative interpretation bias (NIB) with two culturally difference groups of participants: British participants assumed to be individualists and Saudi Arabian participants, assumed to be collectivists. Study 1 constitutes the translation of the research questionnaires from English into Arabic language using Vallerand's (1989) Cross-Cultural Translation Methodology. The results suggested that all the research instruments were psychometrically appropriate for application in the remaining three experiments. Study 2 explored social anxiety across groups, the underlying premise being that social anxiety will occur in collectivistic cultures and not individualistic because collectivist cultures are those where strict social norms are expected. Three findings from Study 2 revealed that the British group had higher levels of social anxiety than the Saudi group but that no significant differences were observed between groups in collectivism and individualism. This evidence suggests that, irrespective of culture, social anxiety is more likely to be found in groups with high level of individualism. Studies 3 and 4 examined differences in social anxiety cognitive biases across groups. In Study 3 the prediction was that FNE, FPE and PEP, not depression would be significant predictors of social anxiety. The result revealed that these three cognitive elements significantly predicted social anxiety and contributed to the maintenance of the disorder for the British group. For the Saudi group, only FNE significantly predicted this disorder. Study 4 was designed to investigate if NIB mediates the relationship between social anxiety and culture. The results provided more evidence for the role of negative interpretation bias regarding the British group but were inconclusive for the Saudi group. However, Study 4 support the content specificity for the interpretation bias to be more related to the social situations rather non-social situations. The current findings provide evidence explaining for the maintenance of social anxiety and that culture has played a role in this continuance.
Supervisor: Maguire, Nicholas ; Stopa, Lusia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology