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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|32737||2004||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7920 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Anxiety Disorders, Volume 18, Issue 5, 2004, Pages 629–646
The current study sought to understand better the psychological characteristics of socially anxious individuals who seek information on the internet about social anxiety disorder and its treatment. Participants were 434 individuals who responded to an internet-based survey linked to the website of an anxiety specialty clinic. Using established cut-off scores, 92% of the sample met criteria for social anxiety disorder. Internet survey respondents who met these criteria reported greater severity of and impairment due to social anxiety than a treatment-seeking sample of persons with social anxiety disorder. Nevertheless, only about one-third of these internet respondents reported having received psychotherapy, and a similar percentage reported having received pharmacotherapy. Those with the most severe social interaction anxiety and who spent the most time interacting on the internet endorsed positive effects of internet use. However, a significant number of negative effects also were endorsed.
Contemporary cognitive-behavioral models of social anxiety disorder (Clark & Wells, 1995 and Rapee & Heimberg, 1997) propose that, in the presence of others, affected individuals form negatively biased thoughts and images about their appearance (e.g., overestimate visibility of anxiety symptoms, exaggerate physical flaws) and behavior (e.g., overestimate speech dysfluencies, demean contributions to conversations). These thoughts and images lead individuals with social anxiety disorder to judge negative evaluation from others to be highly likely. Individuals with social anxiety disorder often resolve the conflict between their need for social contact and their desire to avoid painful feelings they anticipate from interpersonal interactions in favor of avoidance and social isolation. Not surprisingly, individuals with social anxiety disorder describe their relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners as impaired (Schneier et al., 1994; Turner, Beidel, Dancu, & Keys, 1986; Whisman, Sheldon, & Goering, 2000). For socially anxious individuals, communicating with others on the internet in a text-based manner (i.e., email, chat rooms, instant messaging) may allow them to avoid aspects of social situations they fear (e.g., blushing, stammering, others’ reactions to perceived physical or social shortcomings) while at the same time to partially meet their needs for interpersonal contact and relationships. In the last 10 years, the internet has become increasingly accessible to a sizable proportion of U.S. households. As of March 2003, there were approximately 649 million people globally and 173 million people in the United States with internet access (Global Reach, 2003). The advantages of internet communication are many, such as access to a wider network of people with similar interests or concerns and increased ability to stay in touch with geographically distant friends and family. In one study that demonstrates the potential benefit of internet communication, Cummings et al., 2002 and Cummings et al., 2002 examined participants of a discussion group for individuals with hearing loss. Individuals with less real-world support participated more actively in the discussion group, and active participation was associated with greater reported benefits derived from the group. Additionally, participants who reported having a family member or friend participate in the discussion group, thus integrating face-to-face and online support networks, reported deriving even greater benefits from the discussion group. Although positive correlates of internet use are numerous, awareness of potential disadvantages of internet communication is growing. Kraut and colleagues (1998) examined the effect of internet usage on 169 individuals in 73 households during their first 1–2 years online. From pre-internet access to post-internet access, greater use of the internet was associated with declines in family communication, decreases in the size of participants’ local and distant social circles, and increases in depression and loneliness. Kraut and colleagues speculated that, although most internet usage is devoted to active social communication, internet usage actually might reduce face-to-face contact, such that weaker social relationships supplant stronger ones. A 3-year follow-up study, however, found that these negative effects of internet usage had dissipated (Kraut et al., 2002). The authors noted that, during the intervening 3 years, internet access in the home quadrupled and new communication services such as instant messaging evolved, making it easier to develop and maintain strong social bonds with family and friends via internet communication. Additionally, greater access to health, financial, hobby, and consumer information and services may have allowed individuals to better integrate the internet into their lives. Research suggests that internet use may have different consequences for people with different personality traits, although findings regarding internet use and personality characteristics have been inconsistent (cf. Hills & Argyle, 2003; Swickert, Hittner, Harris, & Herring, 2002). Negative outcomes of internet use may be moderated by personality traits and usage patterns. Kraut and colleagues (2002) assessed a sample of new computer purchasers with internet access three times over the course of a year. For the full sample, participants who used the internet more had generally positive outcomes, including increases in the size of their local and distant social circles, increased face-to-face interactions with family and friends, greater trust in other people, and increased positive affect. However, when the interaction between internet use and introversion-extraversion was examined, positive outcomes were observed for extraverts using the internet extensively, but negative outcomes were observed for introverts using the internet extensively. Specifically, introverts who frequently used the internet reported less community involvement, increased loneliness, increased negative affect, increased time pressure, and decreased self-esteem over the course of the study relative to introverts who rarely used it. Extraverts using the internet extensively showed the opposite pattern of outcomes. Further, extraversion was found to be positively associated with using the internet to keep up with family and friends and meeting new people online, although these associations were weak. In another study, socially anxious adolescents were more likely to communicate online with people with whom they did not have a close relationship and to talk about less intimate topics, and social anxiety was positively correlated with communicating with others on the internet to avoid being alone (Gross, Juvonen, & Gable, 2002). Thus, as Gross and colleagues (2002) suggest, the internet may undermine or foster well being depending on whether it shrinks or enhances opportunities for meaningful, daily, face-to-face contact with others. For extraverted or socially comfortable individuals, internet use may be another way to maintain and enhance social relationships. However, in the case of introverted or socially anxious individuals, internet use may serve as a way to avoid being alone and may intensify disconnection from face-to-face relationships. Since research suggests that relationships developed and maintained online are typically not as close as those formed and maintained offline (Cummings et al., 2002 and Cummings et al., 2002; Gross et al., 2002), socially anxious and introverted individuals using internet communications as a substitute for face-to-face relationships seem unlikely to succeed in getting their interpersonal needs fully met. The current study sought to understand better the psychological characteristics of socially anxious individuals who seek information on the internet about social anxiety disorder and its treatment. Of particular interest were the severity of symptoms and degree of impairment reported by these individuals, many of whom were expected never to have accessed treatment. Also of interest were positive and negative correlates of social internet use as judged by these socially anxious individuals