Social phobia is a common distressing condition that is thought to affect over 12% of the population. It often lasts for a long time and can have substantial negative consequences. Social phobia often starts in early adolescence and therapy for it often concentrates on boosting teenagers' social skills. However, recent research has suggested that people with social phobia may have social skills that are just as good as other people's and that the problem lies more with their perception of themselves. It is thought that people with social phobia pay more attention to their symptoms of anxiety and any negative feedback they receive from other people and miss out on more positive signs. A study of 36 adolescents with social phobia by researchers at the University of Manchester looked into the use of video feedback to help teenagers with social phobia. The children were asked to give two speeches to a camera and were asked to rate how anxious they were before making each speech, how well they thought they would perform and how well they had performed. Participants in the video feedback group were shown a video of themselves speaking after their first speech when it was pointed out to them that they did not look nearly as nervous, and had performed much better, than they thought they had. The other participants, in the control group, were simply asked to wait for ten minutes. Those participants who had received video feedback gave a much more positive appraisal of their first speech than the other group, predicted that they would do much better in the second speech and felt less anxiety. Independent observers, who did not know which of the youngsters had received video feedback, found no difference in performance between the two groups.
Parr, Clare J. and Cartwright-Hatton, Sam - Social anxiety in adolescents: the effect of video feedback on anxiety and the self-evaluation of performance Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy January-February 2009, 16(1), 46-54