Biased self-perception of social skills in anxious children: The role of state anxiety

Helen F. Dodd, Jennifer L. Hudson, Heidi J. Lyneham, Viviana M. Wuthrich, Talia Morris, Laurie Monier

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The role of state and trait anxiety on observer ratings of social skill and negatively biased self-perception of social skill was examined. Participants were aged between 7 and 13 years (mean=9.65; sd=1.77; N=102), 47 had a current anxiety diagnosis and 55 were non-anxious controls. Participants were randomly allocated to a high or low anxiety condition and asked to complete social tasks. Task instructions were adjusted across conditions to manipulate participants’ state anxiety. Observers rated anxious participants as having poorer social skills than non-anxious controls but there was no evidence that anxious participants exhibited a negative self-perception bias, relative to controls. However, as participants’ ratings of state anxiety increased, their perception of their performance became more negatively biased. The results suggest that anxious children may exhibit real impairments in social skill and that high levels of state anxiety can lead to biased judgements of social skills in anxious and non-anxious children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-585
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychopathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

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