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Anticipatory and Post-Event Rumination in Social Anxiety Disorder: A Review of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature

  • Erika S. Penney (a1) and Maree J. Abbott (a1)


Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a psychological disorder characterised by an excessive and persistent fear of social or performance situations, which interferes with daily functioning. Cognitive models of SAD (Clark & Wells, 1995; Hofmann, 2007; Rapee & Heimberg, 1997) emphasise the importance of negative pre- and post-event rumination as a maintaining factor in the cycle of SAD. While the link between negative rumination and SAD is well supported by empirical research, little is understood about this cognitively important process; thus, research investigating the predictors of negative rumination in SAD is important to consider. Within the current literature, performance appraisal appears to be the most likely unique cognitive predictor of post-event rumination. There is limited research into cognitive predictors of pre-event rumination. Treatments targeting this maintaining factor are important to consider. Suggestions for future research examining the cognitive models of SAD by experimentally manipulating perceived social standards in order to examine the impact of high and low perceived social standard on appraisal processes (i.e., threat appraisal and performance appraisal), state social anxiety, and negative pre-event and post-event rumination, are proposed. Implications for theoretical models and efficacious treatments for SAD are discussed.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Maree Abbott, School of Psychology (K01), The University of Sydney NSW 2006, Australia. Email:


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