The Role of Emotion Regulation in Social Anxiety

: A Mixed Method Approach in a Non-Clinical Child Population

  • Katere Pourseied

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Although social anxiety disorder (SAD) in children is increasing in western societies, there is a paucity of preventative psycho-educational programmes available. This mixed method research is aimed at evaluating and refining a newly developed intervention programme for a non-clinical child population. The objective is to evaluate the role of emotion regulation (ER) in social anxiety (SA) and identify what could aid the possible prevention of this disorder. The first study employed a video task with 64 children, aged 8-11 years to explore key behavioural measures associated with high versus low (non-clinical) SA. The negative consequences of heightened SA levels and significant relationship between SA and ER informed the focus of the Emotion and Social Skills Programme for Children (ESST-C). Study Two tested the efficacy of the ESST-C in a community sample of 144 children, aged 8-11 years of which 85 children participated in the ESST-C and 59 made up the control group (CG). Participants’ levels of SA and ER were assessed pre- and post- programme, and at three-month follow-up, whereas participants of the CG were only assessed at baseline and at three-month follow-up. The findings did not show a significant decrease in levels of SA and higher levels of ER in children who participated in the programme as opposed to children in the CG, except on levels of anxiety, only partly supporting the efficacy of the ESST-C. Furthermore, the results of the first two studies identified the importance of ER skills. The aim of the third study was therefore to understand ER from the child’s perspective. A qualitative study was conducted on a non-clinical group of 7-12 year olds whose parents were also interviewed on their child’s reactions to socially and emotionally challenging situations. The main findings of this study identified distinct ER styles related to SA, three of which are illustrated to highlight what needs to be assessed and addressed in the development of future prevention programmes for SAD with this age group. Overall, the current thesis is a step forward in the prevention of SAD in children.
Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorCecilia Essau (Supervisor) & Elias Tsakanikos (Supervisor)

Cite this

The Role of Emotion Regulation in Social Anxiety : A Mixed Method Approach in a Non-Clinical Child Population
Pourseied, K. (Author). 2014

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis