Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 375–389 | Cite as

“To Avoid Evaluation, Withdraw”: Fears of Evaluation and Depressive Cognitions Lead to Social Anxiety and Submissive Withdrawal

  • Justin W. Weeks
  • Thomas L. Rodebaugh
  • Richard G. Heimberg
  • Peter J. Norton
  • Tejal A. Jakatdar
Original Article


We propose a cognitive model of social anxiety-related submission based upon psycho-evolutionary accounts of social anxiety and depression and present results of two studies supporting this model. We tested a confirmatory factor model consisting of three latent lower-order factors (fear of negative evaluation, fear of positive evaluation, and depressive cognitions), all of which load onto a single latent higher-order submissive cognitions factor. In essence, we propose that the symptoms associated with social anxiety and depression (in part) served adaptive functions for coping with social threats in the ancestral environment and that the cognitive symptoms associated with these disorders may function collectively as integrated components of a social anxiety-related submission mechanism. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the hypothesized model fit well. A score derived from the submissive cognitions factor correlated strongly with social anxiety-related measures and less strongly with measures of generalized anxiety/worry in Studies 1 and 2. Furthermore, this submissive cognitions score correlated in the expected direction with self-report measures of social comparison, negative affect, and positive affect in Study 2, and mediational analyses indicated that submissive cognitions may mediate the relationship between social comparison and submissive behaviors. Findings from both studies provide support for the proposed model.


Social anxiety disorder Depression Submissive behavior Psycho-evolutionary theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin W. Weeks
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas L. Rodebaugh
    • 3
  • Richard G. Heimberg
    • 1
  • Peter J. Norton
    • 4
  • Tejal A. Jakatdar
    • 1
  1. 1.Adult Anxiety Clinic of Temple, Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOhio UniversityAthensUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

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