Document Type


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Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience





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Originally published at

Funded in part by the VCU Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund.

Date of Submission

September 2019


Background: Laboratory-based research with community samples has suggested changes in affective, behavioural and cognitive processes as possible explanations for the effects of serotonergic medications. Examining the effects of serotonergic medications using an ecological momentary measure (such as event-contingent recording) in the daily lives of people with social anxiety disorder would contribute to establishing the effects of these medications on affect, behaviour and one form of cognition: perception of others’ behaviour.

Methods: The present study assessed changes in affect, interpersonal behaviour and perception of others’ behaviour in adults with social anxiety disorder using ecological momentary assessment at baseline and over 4 months of a single-arm, uncontrolled, open-label trial of treatment with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor paroxetine.

Results: Anxiety and concurrent depressive symptoms decreased. Participants also reported increased positive and decreased negative affect; increased agreeable and decreased quarrelsome behaviour; increased dominant and decreased submissive behaviour; and increased perception that others behaved agreeably toward them. Moreover, participants demonstrated reduced intraindividual variability in affect, interpersonal behaviour and perception of others’ behaviour.

Limitations: Limitations included the lack of a placebo group, the inability to identify the temporal order of changes and the restricted assessment of extreme behaviour.

Conclusion: The results of the present study demonstrate changes during pharmacotherapy in the manifestation of affect, interpersonal behaviour and interpersonal perception in the daily lives of people with social anxiety disorder. Given the importance of interpersonal processes to social anxiety disorder, these results may guide future research seeking to clarify mechanisms of action for serotonergic medications.


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VCU Psychiatry Publications

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