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Capstone Paper Outline

Caitlin Meleski
Purpose: To inform my peers about the true dangers of social anxiety and how it can severely
detriment a person’s ability to form relationships. Also, I want to raise awareness for symptoms
and triggers so that people are better able to identify it.
Audience: High Schoolers – both girls and boys. In addition, anyone within the average age
range of development of SAD (12-18)
Thesis: The effects of social anxiety, while having already proven serious in generalized terms,
strongly affect the basic ability of a diagnosed patient to form strong, intimate relationships that
people strive for.
Brainstorm: Theory of “contagion” with emotional disorders, Emotional triggers that set of
SAD in adolescents, Case study of married couples where the wife has SAD, Prospective future
engagements among those with SAD, DSM-IV causes and diagnosis processes, Definition of
SAD, Communicative effects of SAD and their effects on others, Symptoms to look out for

Subheading 1: Diagnosis & Definition of Social Anxiety Disorder

A. The definition of SAD differentiates from GAD in many different ways.
a. Situations can include social and nonsocial components. For example (in the
mugger example) anxiety about the act itself is different from the social anxiety
earned from the concerns about evaluation by significant others of their
competence in dealing with such situations
b. In studies that found two social anxiety factors, one reflected concerns about
certain ordinary social events
i. (e.g., speaking a group, meeting someone for the first time, being a leader,
being with a member of the opposite sex)
c. This will help me prove my thesis because providing a generalized explanation on
how SAD affects people overall can narrowly build an understanding for how it
affects people in regard to intimacy.
Subheading 2: Causes & Environmental Triggers of Social Anxiety Disorder
A. Social Anxiety is largely a result of shame
a. Studies by Fergus and by Gilbert showed that internal shame as measured by the
Test of Self-Conscious Affect (TOSCA) and social anxiety were significantly
correlated with rs of .52–.54.
b. This helps create an understanding for why people have intimacy issues with
B. Social Anxiety causes have been split into different models over the years, as the true
reasoning behind it has been unknown and needs awareness.
a. Skills deficit model: assumes that anxiety experienced in social situations is due
to an inadequate or inappropriate repertoire of social skills, studies have shown
that social anxiety is often reduced by helping anxious subjects improve their
social skills
b. Cognitive self-evaluation model: social anxiety results not from an objective skills
deficit per se but from the individual’s perception of personal inadequacies,
research has shown that socially anxious people tend to underestimate their social
c. This helps me prove the different theories over the years and how nobody has
been able to conclude a set theory on social anxiety.
Subheading 3: How Social Anxiety affects intimacy
A. Four Horsemen Theory about what qualities are needed to satisfy relationships
a. Psychologist John Gottman outlines “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” aka
negative forms of communication that harm a relationship
i. Criticism
ii. Contempt
iii. Defensiveness
iv. Stonewalling (most linked to social anxiety)
1. Withdrawing from interaction physically or mentally
b. This helps prove my thesis because it shows the different elements that are needed
to appease the apparent problem. By identifying what the standard requirements
for a standard relationship, I can therefore identify whether or not people with
SAD meet the criteria for this or not.
B. Communicative qualities that victims of SAD lack and how they can hurt relationships
a. Socially anxious people cannot adequately notice the support that their romantic
partners provide
b. Experience low levels of trust, coming across as hostile
c. One study found that displays of anxiety elicited high levels of distress, rejection,
and devaluation from the partner in the relationship
d. called “emotional contagion” and is defined as the tendency to “catch” another
person’s distress and troubles when emotionally intimate with them
e. This allows for me to prove that based off of the Four Horseman Theory, victims
of Social Anxiety Disorder do NOT meet the requirements to be able to lead a
happy relationship. This helps to prove my thesis by identifying the problem: that
social anxiety does worsen one’s ability to hold intimate relationships.
C. Social Anxiety has been proven to affect romantic relationships negatively
a. study that followed 33 married heterosexual couples in which the female partner
abided by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ criteria for
a social anxiety disorder
b. the couples selected were given baseline questionnaires and 14 diary reports for
the partners to complete separately at the end of the day
c. based off of these results, 29.5% of couples in the current sample had at least one
partner who scored within the distressed range of marital functioning, however,
daily negative mood aggregated across the study period were significantly higher
for wives than husbands, which is predictable due to the wives’ disorders
d. This helps to prove my thesis because it offers specific evidence within a case
study to support that intimacy is strongly affected by the presence of social
Subheading 4: Treatment and ways to respond to Social Anxiety Disorder
A. SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
a. There are biological causes for SAD, which in turn, proves that Selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors will prove to be a promising treatment
b. Fluvoxamine Case Study
i. The study was a 12-week, double-blind, randomized trial in which 92
patients were treated with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
(fluvoxamine). The study found that it was indeed successful in terms of
pharmaceutical management of social phobia.
c. By stating one method of treatment, I am able to offer solutions to the issue that is
social anxiety. This does not answer my thesis, but it states how it can be avoided.
B. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
a. SAD can be effectively treated with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which has
been shown in more than 20 randomized controlled trials
b. CBT is a combination of any and all methods, strategies, and techniques that work
to help people successfully overcome their particular emotional problems
c. This other method of treatment additionally offers support for proving how my
thesis can be avoided.