Date of Award

8-1-2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Rodriguez, Benjamin

Abstract

Previous research had focused solely on examining the negative effects of biological conceptualizations of psychopathology within the context of depression (Lebowitz et al., 2013). Thus, it remained unknown as to the effects of for anxiety disorders such as Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). The current study attempted to expand the literature by examining the effects both biological and biopsychosocial etiological explanations of SAD on ratings of stigma, prognostic pessimism, and perceptions of treatment effectiveness. 252 participants were randomized to receive either a brief psychoeducational video describing a biological explanation of SAD, a brief psycho-educational video containing a biopsychosocial explanation of SAD, or a control video intended to induce neutral affect. In contrast to initial hypotheses, results indicated no significant differences between groups in stigma, prognostic pessimism, or treatment effectiveness ratings. Similarly, a series of moderation analyses yielded no significant interactions between hypothesized moderators (e.g., previous treatment history) and respective conditions on ratings of prognostic pessimism, stigma, or treatment effectiveness. Clinical and theoretical implications, strengths and limitations, as well as future directions for research are discussed.

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