Masters Thesis

The Impact of Self-concept Clarity on the Development of Social Anxiety

This study examines the relationship between social anxiety and self-concept clarity. Previous research has shown that social anxiety and self-concept clarity are related, and that low self-concept clarity is a unique predictor of social anxiety. There has not been research on the mechanism behind this relationship, which is what the current study intended to do. Three research hypotheses were tested: (1) socially anxious individuals selectively attend to social threat information, (2) those with low self-concept clarity have increased social anxiety, and (3) information processing biases and self-concept clarity are both predictors of social anxiety, with self-concept clarity being the moderating predictor. In order to investigate attention biases, an Emotional Stroop task was used. The Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) crowdsourcing platform was used to recruit 132 participants. Hypotheses 1 and 3 were not supported by the results. For hypothesis 1, social anxiety as measured by the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS) and Social Phobia Scale (SPS) was not significantly correlated with reaction time on social threat word trials of the emotional Stroop task. For hypothesis 3, a hierarchical multiple regression found that while the first model with social threat trial reaction time on the emotional Stroop task and self-concept clarity, measured by Self-Concept Clarity Scale (SCCS) scores, as individual predictors was significant, the second model with the addition of the interaction term was not. Hypothesis 2 was supported in that self-concept clarity was significantly negatively correlated with social anxiety.


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