Social-cognitive factors in childhood social anxiety: A preliminary investigation

Citation
R. Banerjee et L. Henderson, Social-cognitive factors in childhood social anxiety: A preliminary investigation, SOC DEV, 10(4), 2001, pp. 558-572
Citations number
41
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Psycology
Journal title
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
ISSN journal
0961-205X → ACNP
Volume
10
Issue
4
Year of publication
2001
Pages
558 - 572
Database
ISI
SICI code
0961-205X(2001)10:4<558:SFICSA>2.0.ZU;2-9
Abstract
The present study addresses the social cognition of socially anxious childr en, with particular emphasis on their ability to understand others' mental states in interpersonal situations. The heterogeneous sample used in this p reliminary investigation consisted of 63 primary school children in England and the USA. The English children were from a mainstream classroom of 8- t o 9-year-olds, while the children from the USA ranged in age from 6 to 11 y ears and had been selected by school district officials for a variety of so cial interaction difficulties. All children completed measures of social an xiety, shy negative affect, and various social-cognitive abilities, and tea cher ratings of social skills were additionally available for the USA subgr oup. Results showed that feelings of social anxiety are not associated with any basic deficit in the understanding of recursive mental states which co ncern facts about the physical world. However, there was evidence that soci ally anxious children-particularly those with high levels of shy negative a ffect-do experience specific social-cognitive difficulties in understanding the links between emotions, intentions, and beliefs in social situations. Providing further support for this link, socially anxious children were rat ed by their teachers as poorer than non-anxious children only on social ski lls that require insight into others' mental states. Directions for further examination of this complex interplay between cognitive and emotional fact ors in the development of social anxiety, are discussed.