Social Anxiety and Childhood Bullying: Effect on Perceptions of Workplace Teasing

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Wold, Kari A.
Washburn University
Issue Date
November 6, 2015
Alternative Title
Cognitive models propose an interpretation bias such that ambiguous social information is interpreted as threatening by socially anxious individuals. The current study hypothesized that socially anxious individuals who have been bullied would show a more negative interpretation of teasing by coworkers than socially anxious individuals who had never been bullied. Participants were 118 community adults selected for either high or low social anxiety. History of being bullied was assessed. The high social anxiety group indicated more negative emotional reactivity, more intention to change behavior, and greater perceptions of teasing by coworkers as malicious relative to the low social anxiety group, replicating the results of Nowakowski and Anthony (2013) with a community sample. Contrary to predictions, social anxiety and bullying history did not interact to produce more negative reactions to teasing.