Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 112 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Leslie F Halpern

Committee Members

Allen C Israel, Melissa Doyle


Aggression, Childhood Social Anxiety, Cognitive Factors, Hostile Intent, Interpretation Bias, Social Evaluation, Anxiety in children, Social phobia in children, Hostility (Psychology)

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


The current study sought to expand the literature on the cognitive process of interpretation bias associated with social anxiety in youth. The interpretation bias in social anxiety includes an assumption that others are inherently hostile and critical therefore the child perceives or anticipates social evaluation of the self by others. Despite the studies examining interpretation bias and self-evaluation, no studies examine whether individuals with social anxiety evaluate others critically and hostilely. Additionally, hostile intent has been conceptualized as a single construct. However, we propose that hostile intent is a two-dimensional construct involving hostile thoughts about others and perceiving that others have hostile intentions toward the self. The construct of hostile intent has traditionally been associated with externalizing disorders in children, rather than social anxiety. We predict that children with social anxiety also experience more thoughts related to hostile intent than non-socially anxious children. However, children who are socially anxious are not typically more aggressive than non-socially anxious children. To explain this difference, it was hypothesized that fear of social evaluation mediates the relationship between hostile intent and social anxiety.