Social anxiety in early psychosis: the role of shame and stigma of mental illness

Presentation First Author: 
Maria Michail

Introduction: Social anxiety disorder is surprisingly prevalent among young people with early psychosis and exerts significant impact on social disability. The processes that underlie its development remain unclear as there is no evidence that it is directly linked to psychosis vulnerability or symptoms (e.g. paranoia). In non-psychosis, social anxiety has been consistently linked to shame and perceived loss of social status. It remains unknown whether similar processes are implicated in the development of social anxiety and avoidance when this is co-morbid in psychosis. Objectives: To investigate the relationship between shame cognitions arising from a stigmatizing illness and perceived loss of social status in young people with early psychosis and co-morbid social anxiety. Methods: Two separate but inter-related studies were conducted. Study 1 was a crosssectional study where a sample of young people with social anxiety disorder (with and without psychosis) was compared with a sample with psychosis (no social anxiety) on shame proneness, shame cognitions linked to psychosis and perceived social status. Study 2 was a qualitative investigation using a semi-structured interview to explore the mental self-images of young people with early psychosis and co-morbid social anxiety during anxiety provoking situations (e.g. having a conversation with a stranger). Data was analysed using qualitative template analysis. RESULTS Study 1: Shame proneness (p

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
November, 2013
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