Exploring the cognitive model of social anxiety in autistic young people: the central role of bodily symptoms.

Helen Wood, Sarah Rusbridge, Jiedi Lei, Claire Lomax, Jade Elliston, Ailsa Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We explored the role of negative performance beliefs and self-focused attention considered central to psychological models of social anxiety but not studied in autism. Firstly, we compared self- and observer ratings of performance on a social task for 71 young autistic people, 41 high and 30 low in social anxiety, finding a significant main effect of social anxiety but not rater. Subsequently, 76 autistic young people, 46 high and 30 low social anxiety completed measures of interoceptive sensibility and focus of attention following a social task. Only heightened interoceptive sensibility fully mediated the relationship between self-ratings of social performance and social anxiety. These findings suggest awareness of bodily sensations are critical to anxiety in social situations with implications for treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5500–5514
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume52
Early online date4 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Dec 2021

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