Category: Adult Anxiety - Social

Symposium

Dissecting the Lives of People With SAD: Assessing the Best and Worst of Every Hour Using Ecological Momentary Assessment

Saturday, November 18
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Aqua Salon A & B, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: Social Anxiety | Ecological Momentary Assessment | Emotion Regulation
Presentation Type: Symposium

Individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) experience less positivity in daily life – potentially due to a general bias toward negativity and lack of perceived control. However, research has yet to explore these deficits in the context of the most salient moments in the lives of those with SAD - their best and worst events. This study explores perceptions of best and worst hourly events (perceived positivity, negativity, and control), how these perceptions influence momentary anxiety and acceptance (two key facets of social anxiety), and whether this influence varies as a function of SAD.

Participants were 125 undergraduates who completed baseline measures of social anxiety and enrolled in a 7-day ecological momentary assessment protocol. Students were pinged hourly 10 times per day and asked questions about their best and worst events over the past hour along with momentary ratings of anxiety and perceived acceptance by others. Multilevel models were constructed to estimate the effects of perceptions of best and worst events on concurrent anxiety and acceptance, and prospective changes in anxiety and acceptance from one hour to the next. Analogue SAD was examined as a moderator.

Results revealed that greater perceived negativity of worst events in the past hour was associated with more anxiety and less acceptance in the moment, and one hour later (ps < .05). Greater perceived positivity of best events and greater perceived control over these events were associated with less momentary anxiety and more feelings of acceptance (ps < .05). Two significant effects emerged. Unexpectedly, greater perceived control over worst events was associated with greater anxiety — for those with SAD, the positive association was weaker (p < .05). Further, greater perceived control over best events was associated with greater acceptance — for those with SAD, the positive association was also weaker (p < .05).

Additional data will be presented on the qualitative nature of best and worst events and hour-to-hour fluctuations in anxiety and acceptance. The present study offers an unprecedented view into not only the daily, but hourly experiences of individuals with and without SAD.

James D. Doorley

Graduate Student
George Mason University

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Dissecting the Lives of People With SAD: Assessing the Best and Worst of Every Hour Using Ecological Momentary Assessment



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