An investigation of social appearance anxiety and the perception of being looked at by others

PhD Thesis

Warren, H. 2017. An investigation of social appearance anxiety and the perception of being looked at by others. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
AuthorsWarren, H.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDClinPsychol

As with social anxiety, people with high social appearance anxiety (SAA) might experience increased perceptions of being looked at by others and elevated levels of self-focussed evaluative attention (SFEA). This study tested whether individuals with high SAA perceive more people look at them than do those with low SAA, and whether SFEA increases this perception. A sample of 52 low SAA and 48 high SAA participants completed questionnaires and experimental tasks online. Participants estimated the proportion of people looking at them in numerous matrices of faces. A control task of matrices of clocks was used. SFEA was experimentally manipulated. Those high in SAA estimated more people looking at them, and reported higher trait self-focussed attention. Increasing SFEA increased these individual’s estimates of faces looking at them but did not affect perceptions of non- social stimuli. Implications for clinical interventions and the body image literature are discussed. Future lines of research are recommended.

KeywordsSocial appearance anxiety, perception of being observed, self-focussed attention, self-focussed evaluative attention, body image.
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Publication process dates
Deposited27 Sep 2017
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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