Cognitive risk factors explain the relations between neuroticism and social anxiety for males and females

The hierarchical model of vulnerabilities to emotional distress contextualizes the relation between neuroticism and social anxiety as occurring indirectly through cognitive risk factors. In particular, inhibitory intolerance of uncertainty (IU; difficulty in uncertain circumstances), fear of negative evaluation (FNE; fear of being judged negatively), and anxiety sensitivity (AS) social concerns (fear of outwardly observable anxiety) are related to social anxiety. It is unclear whether these risk factors uniquely relate to social anxiety, and whether they account for the relations between neuroticism and social anxiety. The indirect relations between neuroticism and social anxiety through these and other risk factors were examined using structural equation modeling in a sample of 462 individuals (M age = 36.56, SD = 12.93; 64.3% female). Results indicated that the relations between neuroticism and social anxiety could be explained through inhibitory IU, FNE, and AS social concerns. No gender differences were found. These findings provide support for the hierarchical model of vulnerabilities to emotional distress disorders, although the cognitive risk factors accounted for variance beyond their contribution to the relation between neuroticism and social anxiety, suggesting a more complex model than that expressed in the hierarchical model of vulnerabilities.

Read the full paper: Allan, N. P., Oglesby, M. E., Uhl, A., & Schmidt, N. B. (2017). Cognitive risk factors explain the relations between neuroticism and social anxiety for males and females. Cognitive behaviour therapy, 46(3), 224-238. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/16506073.2016.1238503

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