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, 2 (2), 187-201

Affective and Self-Esteem Instability in the Daily Lives of People With Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder


Affective and Self-Esteem Instability in the Daily Lives of People With Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder

Antonina S Farmer et al. Clin Psychol Sci.


Research on affect and self-esteem in social anxiety disorder (SAD) has focused on trait or average levels, but we know little about the dynamic patterns of these experiences in the daily lives of people with SAD. We asked 40 adults with SAD and 39 matched healthy controls to provide end-of-day reports on their affect and self-esteem over two weeks. Compared to healthy adults, participants with SAD exhibited greater instability of negative affect and self-esteem, though the self-esteem effect was driven by mean level differences. The SAD group also demonstrated a higher probability of acute changes in negative affect and self-esteem (i.e., from one assessment period to the next), as well as difficulty maintaining positive states and improving negative states (i.e., dysfunctional self-regulation). Our findings provide insights on the phenomenology of SAD, with particular attention to the temporal dependency, magnitude of change, and directional patterns of psychological experiences in everyday life.

Keywords: emotion; emotional control; individual differences; self-esteem; social anxiety.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Effect of Diagnostic Group × Mean Daily Affect on Affective Instability
Notes. These graphs demonstrate the differential effect of mean affect level on affect instability (squared successive deviations) for people with and without social anxiety disorder based on the fitted values from multilevel models. The x-axes represent the standardized mean levels (shown from −1 SD to +1 SD) for negative affect (a) and positive affect (b). All individual effects are significantly different from zero (p < .05).
Figure 2
Figure 2. Average Affect Change from Positive and Negative Valence by Diagnostic Group
Notes. This graph shows the mean direction and intensity of affect shifts (error bars represent standard error of the mean) from days with predominantly negatively valenced affect (Positive – Negative < 0) and positively valenced affect (Positive – Negative > 0). Differences were significant at p < .01.

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