Behavioral Assessment of Social Anxiety in the Free Speech Task
The current study aimed to improve understanding of the behavioral indicators of social anxiety in the Free Speech Task. Building on the current theoretical knowledge about social anxiety, we developed a rating system to maximize the sensitivity of the behavioral anxiety assessment in the Free Speech Task. Participants with social anxiety and a control group were asked to give a free speech about their study for two minutes. A general measurement of anxiety and different specific behavioral indicators of anxiety were assessed. The scores were rated on interrater reliability and the behavioral strategies for socially anxious and nonanxious participants were compared. The rating of general anxiety did not differ between the anxious and the nonanxious group, only one specific measurement (fumbling/selfmanipulation) did differ significantly between these two groups. These results indicate that socially anxious and nonanxious individuals differ in their internal physical behavior. This finding might have implications for the behavioral assessment of social anxiety.
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