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Title: The relationship between social anxiety, beliefs, metacognitions and post-event processing
Author: Casswell, Miranda
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 3099
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2009
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Social anxiety is extremely common and the Clark and Wells (1995) cognitive model of social phobia is one of the most influential psychological perspectives used in understanding the disorder. The model states that following a social event, anxiety will continue for the socially anxious, because of their engagement with post-event processing (PEP). The cognitive model of social phobia (Clark & Wells, 1995) assumes the socially anxious hold a series of dysfunctional beliefs and, or assumptions. The relationship between such beliefs and psychological distress is well established (Clark et al. 1999). However, problems and gaps in schema theory have been highlighted and Wells and Matthews (1996) have used the S-REF model to explain some of the architecture they suggest the schema approach lacks. The S-REF model is now gathering an impressive evidence base and it has led to the development of the metacognitive model of psychological difficulties (Wells, 2009). The current study had four main aims. Aim one was to develop and validate a trait measure of PEP and a metacognitive measure of PEP. Secondly, to investigate if scores on social anxiety measures were related to PEP. Thirdly, to see if metacognitions or schemas were best able predict participants engagement with PEP, and fourth, to determine if metacognitions predicted social anxiety 'caseness' over and above schemas. Using a student sample (N=177), two measures were created, the Trait Post-Event Processing Scale (T-PEPS), and the Metacognitions about Post-Event Processing Questionnaire (MPEP-Q). All participants completed nine questionnaires in order to collect data on relevant psychopathology. The T-PEPS had a two factor structure, labelled 'duration and interference of PEP' and 'emotional effects of PEP', and the MPEP-Q had a three factor structure, 'negative beliefs about PEP', 'positive beliefs about PEP' and 'negative beliefs about uncontrollability of thinking'. Reliability and validity were good for both measures. The results showed social anxiety was significantly related to PEP. Analysis revealed that the MPEP-Q factor relating to negative beliefs about control was the strongest independent predictor of PEP. DAS-a subscale 'performance evaluation' was also a significant predictor of the emotional effects of PEP. Finally, the results revealed that MPEP-Q 'negative beliefs about uncontrollability of thinking' was also the most significant predictor of social anxiety 'caseness' . The results of this study would now benefit from replication. The results may have important implications for the assessment and treatment of social phobia. Throughout the analysis the importance of metacognitive beliefs in relation to and in prediction of PEP and social anxiety was clear. Ifmetacognitive beliefs prove to be more important than traditional beliefs in future research, then a modification of the Clark and Wells (1995) model might be indicated to make it more consistent with the S-REF model.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: D.Clin.Psychol. Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available