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Individuals with Fear of Blushing Explicitly and Automatically Associate Blushing with Social Costs

Authors
Journal
Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
0882-2689
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Volume
33
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10862-011-9241-x
Keywords
  • Article

Abstract

To explain fear of blushing, it has been proposed that individuals with fear of blushing overestimate the social costs of their blushing. Current information-processing models emphasize the relevance of differentiating between more automatic and more explicit cognitions, as both types of cognitions may independently influence behavior. The present study tested whether individuals with fear of blushing expect blushing to have more negative social consequences than controls, both on an explicit level and on a more automatic level. Automatic associations between blushing and social costs were assessed in a treatment-seeking sample of individuals with fear of blushing who met DSM-IV criteria for social anxiety disorder (n = 49) and a non-anxious control group (n = 27) using a single-target Implicit Association Test (stIAT). In addition, participants’ explicit expectations about the social costs of their blushing were assessed. Individuals with fear of blushing showed stronger associations between blushing and negative outcomes, as indicated by both stIAT and self-report. The findings support the view that automatic and explicit associations between blushing and social costs may both help to enhance our understanding of the cognitive processes that underlie fear of blushing.

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