Representations of the self in social phobia: Vulnerability to social threat

Debra A. Hope, Ronald M. Rapee, Richard G. Heimberg, Mark J. Dombeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

314 Scopus citations


A revised Stroop color-naming task was used to test hypotheses derived from Beck's cognitive theory of anxiety disorders which proposes that social phobics are hypervigilant to social-evaluative threat cues. Color-naming latencies for social and physical threat words were compared to matched neutral words for both social phobics and individuals with panic disorder. As predicted, social phobics showed longer latencies for social threat words, and panickers had longer latencies for physical threat words. Latency for color-naming social threat words correlated with self-reported avoidance among social phobics. These results are consistent with Beck's notion of self-schemata which facilitate the processing of threat cues. Methodological issues and clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-189
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • cognitive assessment
  • information processing
  • social anxiety
  • social phobia
  • stroop task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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