The contribution of cognitive-behavioural factors to social anxiety in Parkinson's disease

Kirsty Nash, Leon Dysch, Jenna Todd Jones, Ruth McQueen, Elizabeth Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Social anxiety is highly prevalent in people with idiopathic
Parkinson’s disease but the underpinning factors are not well
understood. In the general population, social cognitions, safety-seeking behaviours and internally-focused attention are known to predict social anxiety. This has not been explored in a group of people with Parkinson’s
disease, where complex factors including disease severity and motor symptoms could also play an important role in the experience of social anxiety.
Aims: This study aimed to test the relevant cognitive-behavioural factors affecting social anxiety in Parkinson’s disease.
Method: Using a cross-sectional design, 124 people with Parkinson’s disease completed self-report questionnaires. These included measures of Parkinson’s disease severity, social anxiety, negative social cognitions,
safety seeking behaviours, internally focused attention, anxiety and depression.
Results: The final model accounted for 71.6% of variance in social
anxiety. Cognitive-behavioural variables accounted for the largest
magnitude of unique variance (43.5%). Sex, anxiety and depression accounted for 23.4%, and Parkinson non-motor symptom severity for 4.7% of unique variance. Negative social cognitions and safety-seeking behaviours were statistically significant predictors while an internal focus
of attention was not.
Conclusions: Social anxiety in Parkinson’s disease is associated with the social cognitions and safety-seeking behaviours known to contribute to social anxiety more generally, over and above the severity of Parkinson’s disease itself. Findings indicate the need for further research into
cognitive-behavioural approaches to social anxiety in Parkinson’s
Original languageEnglish
JournalBehavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Early online date7 Sep 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sep 2021

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