2022-10-04Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/25905
Taking a Closer Look at Social Performance in Childhood Social Anxiety Disorder: Biopsychosocial Context Considerations and Effects of Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Models of social anxiety disorder (SAD) describe shortfalls in child social performance, whereas empirically, children often show a deficit only in subjective and not objective performance. We examined social performance in relation to possible changes (before and after cognitive behavior therapy [CBT] including social skills training) and to an objective parameter (vocal arousal). Children with SAD were expected to subjectively judge their behavior as less competent than healthy control (HC) children despite a lack of objective differences. Children receiving CBT were expected to show a change in subjective and objective social performance in comparison to children waiting for treatment. Exploratory correlation analyses were used to disentangle the relation between social performance and vocal arousal. One hundred and nineteen children (64 with and 55 without SAD; aged 9–13 years) completed a Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Children with SAD participated in a second TSST after CBT or waiting. Performance was assessed by self-report and by blinded observers. Vocal arousal was analyzed by audio recording. Children with SAD were objectively assessed as more socially competent than HC children; subjectively, children with SAD showed lower social performance. CBT showed no effect on subjective or objective performance ratings. Vocal arousal did not correlate with social performance. Results need to be considered carefully, as psychometric problems appeared that had not been considered in previous studies. The surprising lack of CBT effects suggests a need to focus on cognitions surrounding social performance. Further, social skills training should not be a standard SAD treatment component but used only if necessary.
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This article was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.