Relatively little is known about the integration of people's fear-related dispositions and their expectations about stressful events. This research used information integration theory to examine how participants' anxiety sensitivity and event expectancy are integrated to determine their social anxiety. Three studies were conducted-two with university students and one with anxiety clinic patients-in which participants were presented with multiple scenarios of a socially embarrassing event, each representing a different degree of event probability, from which subjective expectancies were derived. Independent variables included anxiety sensitivity (low, moderate, high) and event expectancy (low, medium, high, no probability information). Participants were asked to indicate their anxiety (dependent measure) in each expectancy condition in this 3 × 4 mixed, quasi-experimental design. The results of all three studies strongly suggest that anxiety sensitivity and event expectancy are integrated additively to produce social anxiety. Additional results and their implications for the treatment of anxiety-related disorders are also discussed.
- Anxiety sensitivity
- Information integration
- Social anxiety
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)