Social anxiety and positive emotions: A prospective examination of a self-regulatory model of emotion avoidance

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APA Citation: 

Kashdan, T. B., & Breen, W. E. (2008). Social anxiety and positive emotions: A prospective examination of a self-regulatory model with tendencies to suppress or express emotions as a moderating variable. Behavior Therapy, 39, 1-12.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
Other Third-Wave Therapies: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Article
Language: 
English
Keyword(s): 
social anxiety; suppression; emotion; experiential avoidance
Abstract: 

The purpose of the present study was to examine social anxiety as a predictor of positive emotions using a short-term prospective design. We examined whether the effects of social anxiety on positive emotions are moderated by tendencies to openly express or supress emotions. Over the course of a 3-month interval, people with excessive social anxiety endorsed stable, low levels of positive emotions. In addition, people with low social anxiety who frequently display their emotions openly, whether negative or positive, reported the greatest increases in positive emotions. Similar results were found when using a measure of emotion suppression (low social anxiety and less tendency to rely on these types of regulatory acts led to the greatest positive emotions). These social anxiety main and interactive effects could not be attributed to depressive symptoms. Our findings suggest that relations between social anxiety and positive emotional experiences over time are best understood in the context of meaningful individual differences such as affect regulatory strategies.

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