Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology

First Advisor

Laura J. Dixon

Second Advisor

John Young

Third Advisor

Stefan Schulenberg

School

University of Mississippi

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most prevalent and chronic psychological disorders among college students. Previous literature has shown that emotion regulation (ER) difficulties are relevant to the maintenance and aggravation of SAD. Within SAD, ER research has exclusively explored intrapersonal (within person) ER difficulties. However, interpersonal (between two or more people) ER difficulties have not been explored as a potential factor contributing to the intensity of social anxiety symptoms. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to examine the use of interpersonal ER strategies in SAD symptoms among college students. In the current study, students in psychology courses were screened for the presence of elevated social anxiety symptoms using a SAD screener, and eligible students were invited via email to complete an online set of questionnaires. Participants were 294 undergraduate students at the University of Mississippi who completed an online battery of questionnaires examining social anxiety symptoms, intrapersonal ER difficulties, and interpersonal ER difficulties. Consistent with the literature, intrapersonal ER difficulties were significant in the prediction of SA symptoms. However, counter to the study’s hypotheses, interpersonal ER difficulties did not significantly contribute to the model of SA symptoms. Findings are consistent with previous literature that ER difficulties are associated with the intensity of SA symptoms. Future studies should further examine interpersonal ER difficulties among SA symptoms with dyad-based behavioral measures, EMA, or test hypotheses in a clinical sample.

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