Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




The purpose of this study was to investigate the nature of socially anxious persons' tendencies to cope with social stress and to examine the differences in the coping abilities of i ndividuals high and low in social anxiety. The differential coping potential of the cognitive coping technique reversal of affect was tested.

Sixty four {32 control, 32 treatment) college students participated in the pretest and posttest of the experiment in which they self-disclosed information in a stressful situation. Self-report, physiological and behavioral measures of anxiety were recorded. Subjects in the treatment group received the coping skills training to deal with the stressor. It was hypothesized that the treatment groups would show a decrease in anxiety measured during disclosure, while control groups would show no change in coping responses. Additionally, it was hypothes ized that subjects low in social anxiety would cope better with the social stress than would subjects high in social anxiety. A sex factor was included to assess differences between males and females in their ability to cope.

Results indicate that the reversal of affect technique was effective in reducing self-reported anxiety in social situations, but reductions in anxiety were not found using physiological or behavioral measures. A differential coping ability of individuals high and low in social anxiety was not found. No sex differences were found. It was concluded that. the cognitive coping strategy used "is effective in reducing self'...reported anxiety. This conclusion is discussed in tenns of the efficacy of coping skills training in clinical treatment and in terms of direction of future research.