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Title: Social anxiety in children and young people : imagery and attention
Author: Chapman, Jennifer
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in children and young people, and can have a negative effect on multiple areas of the child's life, for example, education, and peer relationships. Adult cognitive models of SAD outline the mechanisms involved in the maintenance of the disorder. Two core components of this model are negative self-images, and attentional focus. Although these mechanisms have been widely explored in the adult literature, far less is known about them among children and young people. The first paper presents a systematic review investigating the association between imagery and social anxiety in children and young people. The review found that to date, there is some evidence to support the association between imagery and social anxiety in children and young people. However, many of the effects of negative imagery were found not to be specific to those with high social anxiety. The second paper presents an empirical study exploring the association between the balance of internal and external focus of attention and anxiety under social stress conditions in pre-adolescent children. A community sample of children completed self-report questionnaires assessing focus of attention and social anxiety. Children scoring high and low in social anxiety also completed an attention task assessing focus of attention. The findings of the questionnaires revealed a significant cross sectional association between increased internal, relative to external, focus of attention and high social anxiety. However, the results of the attentional task provided no evidence that heightened anxiety led to increased internal, relative to external, focus of attention for high vs. low socially anxious children. These findings are discussed in terms of implications for clinical practice and future research, together with the limitations of the study.
Supervisor: Creswell, Cathy ; Halldorsson, Brynjar Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available