Individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) report interpreting social events negatively regardless of valence. Fear of causing discomfort to others and intolerance of uncertainty (IU) are associated with negative interpretations of positive social situations. However, no studies have examined whether these negative interpretations change over CBT for SAD, nor predictors of such changes. This study examined if: negative interpretations of positive social events improve during CBT for SAD; these negative interpretations correlate with social anxiety symptom severity, fear of causing discomfort to others, and IU at the start of treatment; and fear of causing discomfort to others, IU and its subfactors at the start of treatment predict changes in these negative interpretations over treatment.
Eighty-five treatment-seeking DSM diagnosed individuals with primary SAD completed measures of the tendency to interpret positive events negatively pre-post CBT, and IU and fears of causing discomfort to others at pre-treatment.
Results demonstrated significant pre-post decreases after CBT for SAD in negative interpretations of positive social events. All measures were significantly correlated with each other. None of the pre-treatment variables significantly predicted decreases in negative interpretations of positive social events over treatment.
CBT may be effective in reducing these negative interpretations.