Paper in Behaviour Change
- Ng, A.S., Abbott, M.J. (2014). The impact of self-imagery on affective, cognitive, and attentional processes in Social Phobia: A comprehensive literature review of the theoretical and empirical literature. Behaviour Change, 31 (3) pp. 159-174.
Social Phobia (SP) is a psychological disorder characterised by an excessive and persistent fear of negative evaluation in social or performance situations that interferes with daily functioning. Cognitive models of SP (Clark & Wells, 1995; Hofmann, 2007; Rapee & Heimberg, 1997) emphasise the role of negative images of the self as an important factor in the maintenance of SP. While empirical research has demonstrated the link between negative self-imagery and social anxiety, many aspects of this cognitive factor are yet to be understood. Currently, there is limited research investigating the impact of different types of self-imagery and their effects on social anxiety and performance. Further research assessing the relationships between self-imagery and other maintaining processes proposed in cognitive models is also warranted. This review assesses the literature focusing on self-imagery in social anxiety, including qualitative, empirical, and preliminary treatment studies to date. Recommendations for future research and the use of imagery-based rescripting methods in the treatment of SP are also discussed.