Perceived Interpersonal Competence as a Predictor of Clinical Outcomes in a Randomized Controlled Trial for Social Anxiety and Employment

Individuals with social anxiety experience many difficulties navigating their daily lives, including in job settings. Treatments for social anxiety are not effective for everyone who experiences social anxiety, nor do they sufficiently address unemployment and other functional difficulties. Because of this, more research is needed on how to improve our treatments for social anxiety to better address the distress and impairment that accompanies this disorder.

How individuals view their ability to perform in social situations, interact with others, or maintain relationships may be important to consider when it comes to treating social anxiety and is also relevant to navigating employment opportunities. This view of self in interpersonal situations is referred to as perceived interpersonal competence. Individuals who have higher perceived interpersonal competence tend to have higher wellbeing and may experience more ease in job hiring and settings. Perceived interpersonal competence may also be impacted by an individual’s identity characteristics (e.g., race) or an individual’s employment history.

Our investigation aimed to evaluate the role of perceived interpersonal competence in job seekers with social anxiety, many of whom have long histories of social adversity due to factors such as race and ethnicity, homelessness, chronic unemployment, and mental health conditions. We first explored whether any factors related to an individual’s identity or work history were related to perceived interpersonal competence. We also evaluated changes in perceived interpersonal competence and examined whether an evidence-based psychological intervention for social anxiety had a positive impact on perceived interpersonal competence.

We found that perceived interpersonal competence did not vary by gender, race, ethnicity, homeless status, or employment history. However, we found that higher perceived interpersonal competence was related to lower social anxiety and overall functional impairment for all job seekers. Separately, we found that job seekers with lower perceived interpersonal competence and who received the evidence-based intervention had quicker improvement in depression symptoms. Overall, our results suggest that higher perceived interpersonal is related to better symptom and functioning outcomes and that attending to perceived interpersonal competence in interventions may result in mood benefits.

Read the full paper: Metts, A. V., LeBeau, R. T., Craske, M. G., & Himle, J. A. (2022). Perceived interpersonal competence as a predictor of clinical outcomes in a randomized controlled trial for social anxiety and employment. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 52(2), 1-17.

Photo by: Amtec Photos

Check Also

A randomised controlled evaluation of an online perfectionism intervention for people with disordered eating – how perfect does it need to be?

Ever wondered if tackling perfection could improve eating disorder habits? The study “A randomised controlled …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *