Clarifying the association of social anxiety with cognitive variables: The role of self-esteem, self-perception, fears of positive and negative evaluation, and post-event processing

Gök B. G., Yalçınkaya-Alkar Ö.

Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, vol.64, no.3, pp.278-287, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 64 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/sjop.12886
  • Journal Name: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Periodicals Index Online, CINAHL, Educational research abstracts (ERA), EMBASE, MEDLINE, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.278-287
  • Keywords: social anxiety, fear of positive evaluation, fear of negative evaluation, self-perception, self-esteem, post-event processing
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Theoretical models of social anxiety disorder (SAD) have identified several cognitive factors (fear of negative evaluation [FNE], self-perception, self-esteem, and post-event processing [PEP]) that play a role in the maintenance of the disorder. The current study aimed at testing both the cognitive factors addressed in these different models and the fear of positive evaluation (FPE) in the same construct. A non-clinical emerging adulthood sample (N = 325) were subjected to structural equation modeling (SEM). The results of the SEM showed that FPE, FNE, and self-concepts (self-esteem and self-perception) were significantly associated with social anxiety. Effect sizes indicated that the variables that most affected social anxiety were FPE, self-perception, FNE, and self-esteem, respectively. However, although it was significant in the conceptual model, the direct effect of social anxiety on PEP was not significant in the full model. On the other hand, the present findings add further support to the roles of negative self-perception and low self-esteem in social anxiety. Moreover, FPE may not be just delayed/postponed FNE. Considering the effect size of FPE on social anxiety, targeting it when appropriate in treatment may reduce the severity of social anxiety.