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Social anxiety and response to touch : incongruence between self-evaluative and physiological reactions

Wilhelm, F. H. and Kochar, A. S. and Roth, W. T. and Gross, J. J.. (2001) Social anxiety and response to touch : incongruence between self-evaluative and physiological reactions. Biological psychology, 58 (3). pp. 181-202.

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Abstract

Touch is an important form of social interaction, and one that can have powerful emotional consequences. Appropriate touch can be calming, while inappropriate touch can be anxiety provoking. To examine the impact of social touching, this study compared socially high-anxious (N=48) and low-anxious (N=47) women's attitudes concerning social touch, as well as their affective and physiological responses to a wrist touch by a male experimenter. Compared to low-anxious participants, high-anxious participants reported greater anxiety to a variety of social situations involving touch. Consistent with these reports, socially anxious participants reacted to the experimenter's touch with markedly greater increases in self-reported anxiety, self-consciousness, and embarrassment. Physiologically, low-anxious and high-anxious participants showed a distinct pattern of sympathetic-parasympathetic coactivation, as reflected by decreased heart rate and tidal volume, and increased respiratory sinus arrhythmia, skin conductance, systolic/diastolic blood pressure, stroke volume, and respiratory rate. Interestingly, physiological responses were comparable in low and high-anxious groups. These findings indicate that social anxiety is accompanied by heightened aversion towards social situations that involve touch, but this enhanced aversion and negative-emotion report is not reflected in differential physiological responding.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology
07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Ehemalige Einheiten Psychologie > Abteilung Klinische Psychologie und Psychiatrie
07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Ehemalige Einheiten Psychologie > Psychophysiologie (Wilhelm)
UniBasel Contributors:Wilhelm, Frank H
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0301-0511
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
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Last Modified:28 Sep 2017 14:59
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:44

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