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Keywords:

  • social anxiety;
  • performance;
  • social skills;
  • social exposure

Objectives

The aim of this pilot study was to investigate whether patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) differ from controls in the quality of skill-related behaviors displayed during a speech and in overall behavioral adequacy as perceived by observers and by the patients themselves.

Design

A total of 18 SAD patients and 18 controls were screened by a diagnostic interview and took part in a 3-minute speech of their own choosing. For each videotaped speech, observers rated the adequacy of the skill-related behaviors and overall performance adequacy. After the experiment, participants were asked to rate their own overall performance adequacy.

Results

The results showed that SAD patients exhibited significantly worse voice intonation and fluency of the speech, however no differences were found in global self-ratings. Moreover, the performance evaluations of the SAD group were consistent with the observers, while the controls evaluated their performance lower than the observers.

Conclusions

The results are inconsistent with the cognitive model, because patients with SAD did not underestimate their performance. Compared with spontaneous interactions, the clear rules established for such social situations as speeches may result in less cognitive distortion for SAD patients.