Category: Adult Anxiety - Social

PS10- #A3 - The Prospective Role of Self-Criticism and Self-Kindness in Social Anxiety

Saturday, Nov 18
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Social Anxiety | Cognitive Schemas / Beliefs | Treatment-CBT

The past decade has seen a flourishing in research on self-criticism. Specifically, self-criticism has been identified as a transdiagnostic phenomenon that is involved in the development and maintenance of a number of psychological disorders. In response, increasing self-compassion has been identified as a possible means to treat such disorders. Thus far, there is a paucity of research examining the relationship of these variables with respect to social anxiety. We hypothesized two causal models whereby the relationship between self-criticism/self-kindness and social anxiety was mediated by negative self-beliefs in the form of perceived inferiority and self-esteem. Self-criticism was measured using the Forms of Self-criticizing/Attacking and Self-Reassuring Scale; self-kindness with the Self Compassion Scale, social anxiety with the Social Phobia and Social Interaction Anxiety scales, perceived inferiority with the Social Comparison Scale, and self-esteem with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. We tested these models longitudinally in a general community sample aged 18-71 years old (N=506) using online measures over 3 time points across a 7-month period. At T1, 59% of the sample were above cut-off scores for social anxiety disorder. There was some attrition: 69% of participants completed Time 2 on average 101.29 (SD = 15.28) days after Time 1, and 56% of participants completed Time 3 on average 119.25 (SD = 8.89) days after Time 2. Using random intercept cross-lagged structural equation modelling controlling for the stable trait-like components of the variables, we found that self-criticism significantly predicted future increases in negative self-beliefs in the form of perceived inferiority (β = .27) but without an effect of the latter variable on social anxiety. Furthermore, self-kindness did not predict future negative self-beliefs. Analyses did reveal some expected relationships (e.g., negative self-beliefs predicting future fear of negative evaluation (β = .10), self-kindness predicting future self-criticism (β = -.18), providing partial support for some aspects of the proposed models. We discuss the implications of the findings in terms of proposed interventions targeting self-criticism and promoting self-kindness in the context of fears of negative evaluation.

Jeremy Stevenson

PhD Candidate (Clinical Psychology)
Flinders University

Junwen Chen

Flinders University

Reg Nixon

Flinders University

Julie Mattiske

Flinders University

Kate Fairweather Schmidt

Flinders University

Pawel Skuza

Flinders University