THE ROLE OF METACOGNITION WITHIN SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER (SAD)

ABSTRACT

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is one of the most common anxiety disorders and a highly disabling condition. SAD usually develops in early to late teens, with clinical trials highlighting impairments in mental health, general health, vitality and social functioning. Since Wells & Mathews (1994) introduced the metacognitive model, beliefs about thinking have been associated with the development of psychopathologies within clinical trials but, little is known about the contribution of individual differences in metacognition to SAD specifically. In this study a cross sectional design was utilised and opportunity sampling used for acquiring participants in order to assess the contribution of metacognition, a specific form of thinking style and cognition, when measured outside the clinical environment. Participants completed a questionnaire pack and the following hypotheses were tested; metacognition will correlate positively with social anxiety; metacognitive beliefs about uncontrollability and danger will be the strongest independent predictor of social anxiety; metacognition will display a role, which is independent of cognition, within social anxiety. Multiple regression analysis was run to test these hypotheses and to determine the best independent metacognitive predictors. The results supported each hypothesis and revealed three metacognitive predictors of social anxiety. Overall this study indicated that metacognition may have an important role in social anxiety, a role independent of cognition.

Keywords: Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Students, S-REF, Metacognition, Mental Health, Metacognitive Therapy (MCT).

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