Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Relationships Between Metacognition, Anticipatory Processing, and Social Anxiety

  • Stephanos P. Vassilopoulos (a1), Andreas Brouzos (a2) and Nicholas J. Moberly (a3)


Anticipatory processing (AP) is a repetitive thinking style associated with social anxiety that has been understudied relative to other similar constructs (e.g., rumination, worry). The primary goal of this study was the development and evaluation of the Positive Beliefs about Anticipatory Processing Questionnaire (PB-APQ) with a sample of 301 undergraduate students. Further, it was predicted that anticipatory processing would mediate the relationship between positive beliefs about anticipatory processing and social interaction anxiety. The findings from this study suggest that PB-APQ is a valid and reliable construct. Anticipatory processing was shown to partially mediate the relationship between positive beliefs about anticipatory processing and social interaction anxiety. The results provide initial evidence for the suggestion that individuals who tend to hold positive beliefs about anticipatory processing tend to engage in anticipatory processing, which may increase social interaction anxiety.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Stephanos P. Vassilopoulos, Department of Primary Education, University of Patras, Patras, 26 110, Greece. Email:


Hide All
Abbott, M.J., & Rapee, R.M. (2004). Post-event rumination and negative self-appraisal in social phobia before and after treatment. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113, 136144.
Beck, A.T., Steer, R.A., & Brown, G.K. (1996). Beck Depression Inventory manual (2nd ed.). San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.
Beck, A.T., Steer, R.A., & Garbin, M.G. (1988). Psychometric properties of the BDI: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clinical Psychology Review, 8, 77100.
Borkovec, T.D., & Roemer, L. (1995). Perceived functions of worry among generalized anxiety disorder subjects: Distraction from more emotionally distressing topics. Journal of Behavior Therapy & Experimental Psychiatry, 26, 2530.
Clark, D.M., & Wells, A. (1995). A cognitive model of social phobia. In Heimberg, R.G., Liebowitz, M.R., Hope, D.A., & Schneier, F.R. (Eds.), Social phobia: Diagnosis, assessment and treatment (pp. 6993). New York: Guilford Press.
Fisak, B.J., & Hammond, A.N. (2013). Are positive beliefs about post-event processing related to social anxiety? Behavior Change, 30, 3647.
Grant, D.M. & Beck, J.G. (2010). What predicts the trajectory of rumination?: A prospective evaluation. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 24, 480486.
Heimberg, R.G., & Becker, R.E. (2002). Cognitive-behavioral group therapy for social phobia: Basic mechanisms and clinical strategies. New York: Guilford Press.
Hinrichsen, H., & Clark, D.M. (2003). Anticipatory processing in social anxiety: Two pilot studies. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 34, 205218.
Mattick, R.P., & Clarke, J.C. (1998). Development and validation of measures of social phobia scrutiny fear and social interaction anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36, 455470.
Mills, A.C., Grant, D.M., Lechner, W.V., & Judah, M.R. (2013). Psychometric properties of the Anticipatory Social Behaviours Questionnaire. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 35, 346355.
Mystakidou, K., Tsilika, E., Parpa, E., Smyrniotis, V., Galanos, A., & Vlachos, L. (2007). Beck Depression Inventory: Exploring its psychometric properties in a palliative care population of advanced cancer patients. European Journal of Cancer Care, 16, 244250.
Papageorgiou, C., & Wells, A. (2001). Positive beliefs about depressive rumination: Development and preliminary validation of a self-report scale. Behavior Therapy, 32, 1326.
Preacher, K.J., & Hayes, A.F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 879891.
Rapee, R.M., & Heimberg, R.G. (1997). A cognitive-behavioral model of anxiety in social phobia. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 35, 741756.
Rachman, S., Gruter-Andrew, J., & Shafran, R. (2000). Post-event processing in social anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38, 611617.
Rodebaugh, T.L., Woods, C.M., & Heimberg, R.G. (2007). The reverse of social anxiety is not always the opposite: The reverse-scored items of the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale do not belong. Behavior Therapy, 38, 192206.
Steinman, S.A., Gorlin, E.I., & Teachman, B.A. (2014). Cognitive biases among individuals with social anxiety. In Weeks, J.W. (Ed.), Wiley-Blackwell handbook of social anxiety disorder (pp. 323343). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
Vassilopoulos, S.P. (2004). Anticipatory processing in social anxiety. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 32, 285293.
Vassilopoulos, S.P. (2005). Anticipatory processing plays a role in maintaining social anxiety. Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 18, 321332.
Vassilopoulos, S.P. (2008). Coping strategies and anticipatory processing in high and low socially anxious individuals. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22, 98107.
Wells, A. (1995). Meta-cognition and worry: A cognitive model of generalized anxiety disorder. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 23, 301320.
Wells, A. (2000). Emotional disorders and metacognition: Innovative cognitive therapy. Chichester, UK: Wiley.
Wells, A. (2002). GAD, metacognition, and mindfulness: An information processing analysis. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9, 95100.
Wells, A. (2006). The metacognitive model of worry and generalised anxiety disorder. In Davey, G.L. & Wells, A. (Eds.), Worry and its psychological disorders: Theory, assessment and treatment (pp. 179199). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing.
Wells, A. (2009). Metacognitive therapy for anxiety and depression. New York: Guilford Press.
Wells, A., & Cartwright-Hatton, S. (2004). A short form of the Metacognitions Questionnaire: properties of the MCQ-30. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 42, 385396.
Wells, A., Fisher, P., Myers, S., Wheatley, J., Patel, T., & Brewin, C.R. (2012). Metacognitive therapy in treatment-resistant depression: A platform trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 50, 367373.
Wong, Q.J., & Moulds, M.L. (2010). Do socially anxious individuals hold positive metacognitive beliefs about rumination? Behavior Change, 27, 6983.
Wong, Q.J.J., & Moulds, M.L. (2011). Impact of anticipatory processing versus distraction on multiple indices of anxiety in socially anxious individuals. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 49, 700706.


The Relationships Between Metacognition, Anticipatory Processing, and Social Anxiety

  • Stephanos P. Vassilopoulos (a1), Andreas Brouzos (a2) and Nicholas J. Moberly (a3)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed