Social and emotional factors influencing and maintaining social anxiety and comorbid disordered eating behavior and symptoms
No Thumbnail Available
The thesis investigated the risk factors for social anxiety as well as its effects, particularly with regards to emotions and affect. 411 Indian undergraduate students participated in this study. Broadly, this thesis consists of two studies. The first study attempted to evaluate the role of both shared and unique risk factors for social anxiety and disordered eating symptoms. Some factors investigated are social influence (parental influence, peer victimization), fear of negative evaluation, social appearance anxiety, and body esteem satisfaction. This study also explored the potential mediators between social influence and outcome variables (social anxiety and disordered eating symptoms). Difficulties in emotion regulation, body esteem satisfaction and social evaluative fears (fear of negative evaluation and social appearance anxiety) were identified as potential mediators. The results revealed significant associations of mother’s care, relational peer victimization, fear of negative evaluation, social appearance anxiety, disordered eating, satisfaction with others’ evaluations about one’s body and appearance with social anxiety after controlling for gender, age, place, and depression. Disordered eating behavior was significantly associated with online victimization, social anxiety, fear of negative evaluation, social appearance anxiety, satisfaction with weight and appearance, over and above gender, age, place, and depression. So, social anxiety and disordered eating seem to have some common predictors, namely, fear of negative evaluation, social appearance anxiety, and satisfaction with appearance. When trying to identify shared vulnerabilities within these symptoms in the same path model,fear of negative evaluation and social appearance anxiety appeared to be significant. Mother’s care seems to influence the comorbidity through non-acceptance of emotions, satisfaction with appearance, fear of negative evaluation, and social appearance anxiety. Father’s care has an impact on social anxiety and disordered eating comorbidity through satisfaction with appearance only. Father’s granting of behavioral freedom exerts its influence on this comorbid relationship through fear of negative evaluation. Denial of psychological autonomy appears to do so through non-acceptance of emotional responses. The present study reported that relational victimization influenced social anxiety and comorbid disordered eating behavior through satisfaction with appearance, fear of negative evaluation, and social appearance anxiety. Online victimization was found to exert its influence through a lack of emotional awareness, satisfaction with appearance, and social appearance anxiety. The second study is a longitudinal study aimed to understand whether difficulties in emotion regulation have a longitudinal impact on social anxiety and difficulties in emotion regulation act as moderators in the relationship between social anxiety and longitudinal change in affect. The result revealed that non-acceptance of emotional responses and difficulties engaging in goaldirected behavior was significantly associated with social anxiety longitudinally. Moreover, high depression in tandem with difficulties engaging in goal-directed behavior significantly impacts changes in positive affect.
Supervisor: Dilwar Hussain
HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES