Category: Child / Adolescent - Anxiety

PS12- #B51 - Individual Differences in Adolescents' Fears of Negative Versus Positive Evaluation: Clinical Correlates and Links to Referral Status

Saturday, Nov 18
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is one of the most prevalent mental disorders, typically emerges during adolescence, and severely impacts social functioning in home, school, and/or work settings (Kessler et al., 2005). If left untreated, SAD often persists into adulthood (Bögels et al., 2010). Individuals with SAD often fear activities where their performance may be evaluated by their peers (Beidel et al., 2010). These evaluative concerns may take the form of fears of negative evaluation (FNE) and fears of positive evaluation (FPE), and although related, these forms of evaluative concerns vary in their prediction of clinically relevant domains (e.g., treatment response; Weeks & Howell, 2012). Recent work discovered that emerging adults display individual differences in these evaluative concerns, in that some display: (a) high FNE and low FPE, (b) low FNE and high FPE, (c) high FNE and FPE, and (d) low FNE and FPE (Lipton et al., 2016). In this study, we tested the utility of understanding these individual differences in FNE and FPE among adolescents. Specifically, we expected these groups to vary in levels of internalizing symptoms such that adolescents displaying high FNE and FPE would display greater levels of trait internalizing symptoms as well as state levels of arousal within social interactions, relative to the three other groups. Further, we expected these groups to vary by clinical referral status such that adolescents displaying high FNE and FPE would be more likely to be clinic-referred than not clinic-referred.

We recruited a sample of 89 adolescents, 14-15 years (56 female, 24 male; M=14.50 years) and their parents. Adolescents completed the BFNE and FPES, as well as self-reports on well-established measures of social anxiety (Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory for Children; Beidel et al., 1995) and depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory II; Beck et al., 1996). Parents completed modified versions of these same measures, with minimal word adjustments to fit parents’ perspectives.

We successfully replicated the findings of Lipton (2016) with individuals displaying one of four distinct categories of levels of FNE and FPE (a) high FNE and low FPE, (b) low FNE and high FPE, (c) high FNE and FPE, and (d) low FNE and FPE. For both adolescent and parent reports, individuals scoring high in both FNE and FPE displayed significantly higher levels of internalizing symptoms compared to the other three categories, and the low FNE/high FPE and high FNE/low FPE groups did not differ from each other. Per adolescent and parent reports, FNE/FPE groups varied by referral status with clinic-referred adolescents having a higher chance of displaying high FNE/FPE. These findings have important implications for assessing and treating adolescent SAD.

Sebastian Szollos

Research Coordinator
The University of Maryland
Columbia, Maryland

Lauren Keeley

Full-Time Research Coordinator
University of Maryland at College Park
Adelphi, Maryland

Erica Rausch

Undergraduate Research Coordinator
University of Maryland at College Park

Michelle L. Truong

Undergraduate Research Coordinator
University of Maryland at College Park

Alexis Beale

Research Coordinator
The University of Maryland

Bridget Makol

Graduate Student
The University of Maryland

Melanie Lipton

Graduate Student
The University of Maryland

Tara Augenstein

Graduate Student
The University of Maryland

Sarah Racz

Clinical Assistant Professor
University of Maryland at College Park

Andres De Los Reyes

Associate Professor
University of Maryland at College Park
College Park, Maryland