Fear of negative evaluation, trait anxiety, and judgment bias in adults who stutter
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Purpose: Persons who stutter (PWS) and those with social anxiety disorder may exhibit fear of negative evaluation (FNE) and anxiety in social situations. However, the information processing biases that perpetuate these characteristics have had limited investigation. This study investigated judgment bias in social situations. Method: Participants included 50 adults who stutter and 45 age- and gender-matched fluent persons who do not stutter (PWNS), who made up the control group. Participants completed the Interpretation and Judgmental Questionnaire (Voncken, Bögels, & deVries, 2003), and threat scores were calculated. Results: There were no significant differences between PWS and PWNS in social threat or nonsocial threat scores. When the PWS group was divided on the basis of FNE and compared with PWNS participants without heightened anxiety (n = 35), the PWS with high FNE had significantly higher total social threat scores than the PWS with low FNE. The three groups did not differ in threat ratings for ambiguous or profoundly negative social situations. Conclusions: Judgment bias in PWS is mediated by the magnitude of FNE present; not all PWS exhibit judgment bias for social situations. Treatment implications include the need for psychosocial support addressing the negative impacts on quality of life and restrictions on social engagement that stuttering may cause in some individuals.
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