This study investigates the effect of speech estimation on social anxiety to further understanding of this characteristic of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). In the first study, we developed the Speech Estimation Scale (SES) to assess negative estimation before giving a speech which has been reported to be the most fearful social situation in SAD. Undergraduate students (n = 306) completed a set of questionnaires, which consisted of the Short Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (SFNE), the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS), the Social Phobia Scale (SPS), and the SES. Exploratory factor analysis showed an adequate one-factor structure with eight items. Further analysis indicated that the SES had good reliability and validity. In the second study, undergraduate students (n = 315) completed the SFNE, SIAS, SPS, SES, and the Self-reported Depression Scale (SDS). The results of path analysis showed that fear of negative evaluation from others (FNE) predicted social anxiety, and speech estimation mediated the relationship between FNE and social anxiety. These results suggest that speech estimation might maintain SAD symptoms, and could be used as a specific target for cognitive intervention in SAD.
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