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The Impact of Self-Imagery on Affective, Cognitive, and Attentional Processes in Social Phobia: A Comprehensive Literature Review of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature

  • Ashlen S. Ng (a1) and Maree J. Abbott (a1)

Abstract

Social Phobia (SP) is a psychological disorder characterised by an excessive and persistent fear of negative evaluation in social or performance situations that interferes with daily functioning. Cognitive models of SP (Clark & Wells, 1995; Hofmann, 2007; Rapee & Heimberg, 1997) emphasise the role of negative images of the self as an important factor in the maintenance of SP. While empirical research has demonstrated the link between negative self-imagery and social anxiety, many aspects of this cognitive factor are yet to be understood. Currently, there is limited research investigating the impact of different types of self-imagery and their effects on social anxiety and performance. Further research assessing the relationships between self-imagery and other maintaining processes proposed in cognitive models is also warranted. This review assesses the literature focusing on self-imagery in social anxiety, including qualitative, empirical, and preliminary treatment studies to date. Recommendations for future research and the use of imagery-based rescripting methods in the treatment of SP are also discussed.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Maree J. Abbott, Clinical Psychology Unit (K01), School of Psychology, University of Sydney NSW 2006, Australia. Email: maree.abbott@sydney.edu.au

References

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The Impact of Self-Imagery on Affective, Cognitive, and Attentional Processes in Social Phobia: A Comprehensive Literature Review of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature

  • Ashlen S. Ng (a1) and Maree J. Abbott (a1)

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