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RESEARCHER SHOWCASE: Warut Aunjitsakul and maintenance mechanisms of social anxiety disorder in people with psychosis

Current Research, Warut Aunjitsakul

RESEARCHER SHOWCASE: Warut Aunjitsakul and maintenance mechanisms of social anxiety disorder in people with psychosis

Warut Aunjitsakul is a psychiatrist and clinical instructor from Prince of Songkla University, Thailand and very keen to develop theoretical understanding and improve psychological intervention in people with psychosis. He is now pursuing his PhD in Psychological Medicine.  

The following is part of Warut’s PhD project aiming to understand the maintenance mechanisms of social anxiety disorder in people with psychosis. 

Don’t look at me like that, I feel uncomfortable, do I look awkward or, do I speak something wrong.

Here are some kinds of social anxiety thought that I anticipated.

Fortunately, I haven’t had paranoid thoughts, such as “someone hates me, OR want to kill me.”

Although it’s just worrying thoughts when on stage, it somehow literally distresses.

How about those people suffering from paranoia? It might be very tough for them, isn’t it?

It’s evident that one-fifth of people experiencing psychosis present social anxiety disorder. This leads to negative impacts on their life, such as poorer quality of life, lower functioning, or higher depression.

In these days, there is no effective psychological intervention for treating social anxiety in people with psychosis. Moreover, it still not knows why some people with social anxiety go on to develop severe paranoia. Therefore, it needs to identify the factors that influence the link between social anxiety and paranoia.

The empirical evidence shows that social anxiety links to paranoid thinking, and, many studies examined this link amongst Western populations. However, there have been no cross-cultural studies of non-Western populations focusing on this link.

A cultural perspective is important because norms and values differ in a different culture, and may affect both social anxiety and paranoia belief.

Accordingly, my study aimed to examine attitudes of social anxiety with paranoia amongst the general population across cultures between the UK and Thailand, by using an online survey.

This study examined social attitudes about stigma & shame, social rank, self-esteem, negative self-referent appraisal and safety behaviours.

From data analyses across cultures, it was found that external shame could play an important role in explaining the link of social anxiety to paranoid thoughts.

Since the external shame is an evaluation of how others judge oneself as being unattractive or unfavourable.

In short, I hope this work could contribute to the improvement of treating social anxiety in people with psychosis by targeting the shame factor with the standard cognitive behavioural intervention.

Finally, I’d like to emphasize that “Please don’t care what thought is going to say, the shame never bothered us anyway.”

You can find Warut at the following places:

This presentation was presented as part of an IHW PGR half-day conference, All aboard

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