Concern about evaluation by others: Measurement and links with psychopathology.
thesisposted on 19.11.2015, 08:57 by Martin D. Fitch
Harre (1979, p.3) states that "the pursuit of reputation in the eyes of others is the overriding preoccupation of human life". Concern about evaluations by others has also been linked to psychopathology, for example Beck and Emery (1985, p.151) state that "the central fear in the so-called social anxieties is that of negative evaluation by another person". This tendency for people to show great concern for what other people think of them, to the extent that it has a major impact on their lives, forms the focus of this research thesis. In the literature review Section A looks at the historical background of the concept that people are highly concerned about what others think of them, different explanatory approaches to the concept, and at the ways in which the concern can become pathological according to the different explanatory approaches. Section B of the literature review looks at the development of the concern within an individual, at concepts related to the concern about others evaluations, and at methods of assessing the cognitions of interest. Section C looks at clinical research into the relationship between anxiety problems and the concern with others' evaluations of oneself, and at evidence that therapy can change cognitions related to self-evaluation. A questionnaire measure of the cognitions of interest was devised and refined through Studies 1 to 3, and the relationships between the successive versions of the questionnaire and related measures of cognitions and psychopathology were investigated. Four single case studies were conducted to examine how the cognitions of interest changed during cognitive therapy targeted on these cognitions. The final summary and discussion attempt to link the observed results with developmental models that might account for individual differences in the concern people have about how others evaluate them, and use cognitive models of memory and judgemental processes to account for observed relationships between the cognitions of interest in the present series of studies. Finally, a number of suggestions are made about possible future studies.