Discrepant views of social competence and links with social phobia

Pamela-Zoe Topalli, Niina Junttila, Päivi M. Niemi, Klaus Ranta

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


Adolescents’ biased perceptions about their social
competence (SC), whether negatively or positively, serve to influence
their socioemotional adjustment such as early feelings of social
phobia (nowadays referred to as Social Anxiety Disorder-SAD).
Despite the importance of biased self-perceptions in adolescents’
psychosocial adjustment, the extent to which discrepancies between
self- and others’ evaluations of one’s SC are linked to social phobic
symptoms remains unclear in the literature. This study examined the
perceptual discrepancy profiles between self- and peers’ as well as
between self- and teachers’ evaluations of adolescents’ SC and the
interrelations of these profiles with self-reported social phobic
symptoms. The participants were 390 3rd graders (15 years old) of
Finnish lower secondary school (50.8% boys, 49.2% girls). In
contrast with variable-centered approaches that have mainly been
used by previous studies when focusing on this subject, this study
used latent profile analysis (LPA), a person-centered approach which
can provide information regarding risk profiles by capturing the
heterogeneity within a population and classifying individuals into
groups. LPA revealed the following five classes of discrepancy
profiles: i) extremely negatively biased perceptions of SC, ii)
negatively biased perceptions of SC, iii) quite realistic perceptions of
SC, iv) positively biased perceptions of SC, and v) extremely
positively biased perceptions of SC. Adolescents with extremely
negatively biased perceptions and negatively biased perceptions of
their own SC reported the highest number of social phobic
symptoms. Adolescents with quite realistic, positively biased and
extremely positively biased perceptions reported the lowest number
of socio-phobic symptoms. The results point out the negatively and
the extremely negatively biased perceptions as possible contributors
to social phobic symptoms. Moreover, the association of quite
realistic perceptions with low number of social phobic symptoms
indicates its potential protective power against social phobia. Finally,
positively and extremely positively biased perceptions of SC are
negatively associated with social phobic symptoms in this study.
However, the profile of extremely positively biased perceptions
might be linked as well with the existence of externalizing problems
such as antisocial behavior (e.g. disruptive impulsivity). The current
findings highlight the importance of considering discrepancies
between self- and others’ perceptions of one’s SC in clinical and
research efforts. Interventions designed to prevent or moderate social
phobic symptoms need to take into account individual needs rather
than aiming for uniform treatment. Implications and future directions
are discussed.
TidskriftWorld Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology. Proceedings
Sidor (från-till)119-126
Antal sidor8
StatusPublicerad - 2018
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 3124 Neurologi och psykiatri

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