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THE IMPACT OF OTHER-FOCUSED COMPASSION ON SOCIAL ANXIETY

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posted on 2024-05-10, 22:19 authored by Alice Isabel Cohen

Several models of social anxiety disorder posit that heightened self-focused attention and reduced other-focused attention are maintaining factors of the disorder, and some treatments for social anxiety focus on modifying attention. However, no previous research has examined how increasing compassion for another might increase outwardly focused attention, or how that in turn might impact social anxiety. Using an experimental design, the present study compares the effect of a compassion meditation intervention to that of a reappraisal control task on attention focus and social anxiety during a novel conversation task. 100 undergraduate university students participated in the study. Results indicate that the compassion meditation did increase other-focused attention and decrease social anxiety, though only after controlling for baseline neuroticism. However, self-reported compassion was not different between the control and experimental conditions, and differences in social anxiety were not mediated through attention focus. As a whole, the findings give preliminary support that compassion interventions may have a positive impact on social anxiety symptoms, but further research is necessary to better understand the underlying mechanisms behind these effects.

History

Publisher

ProQuest

Language

English

Committee chair

Anthony Ahrens

Committee member(s)

Kathleen Gunthert; Nathaniel Herr

Degree discipline

Psychology

Degree grantor

American University. College of Arts and Sciences

Degree level

  • Masters

Degree name

M.A. in Psychology, American University, May 2024

Local identifier

Cohen_american_0008N_12170.pdf

Media type

application/pdf

Pagination

54 pages

Submission ID

12170

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