Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Ginette Blackhart

Committee Members

Stacey Williams, Alyson Chroust, Meredith Ginley


Social anxiety is a prevalent and harmful experience, predicting negative outcomes even for those not reaching clinical levels. While evidence-based treatments are well-documented for Social Anxiety Disorder, simple and accessible interventions for subclinical samples are a valuable endeavor for research. The current study aimed to test an experimental task for reducing social anxiety through increasing participants’ impression self-efficacy. A secondary goal was to explore the impacts of and responses to positive and neutral feedback. The primary hypothesis was that condition would predict changes in social anxiety indirectly through changes in impression self-efficacy. Participants (n=127) completed a structured interaction with a research confederate. In the experimental condition, participants were exposed to a social obstacle and provided with positive feedback, while a neutral condition and control condition did not encounter an obstacle and received neutral and no feedback, respectively. A mediation analysis indicated that condition significantly predicted changes in impression efficacy and changes in social anxiety, and changes in impression efficacy significantly predicted changes in social anxiety. However, the indirect effect when comparing the experimental condition to the control condition was nonsignificant. Additionally, neutral evaluative feedback predicted lower positive affect and increased rejected feelings compared to other conditions. Exploratory analyses were conducted to investigate nuances of participants’ responses to feedback. Overall, results offer noteworthy information about the use of the experimental manipulation and the impacts of feedback within research contexts and non-laboratory settings.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.