Journal article Open Access

Malaise with praise: A narrative review of 10 years of research on the concept of Fear of Positive Evaluation in social anxiety

Reichenberger, Julia; Blechert, Jens

Social anxiety is characterized by a fear of being negatively evaluated by others (i.e., Fear of Negative Evaluation [FNE]). In 2008,Weeks,Heimberg, and Rodebaugh proposed Fear of Positive Evaluation (FPE) as a second cognitive component in social anxiety. The article presents an overview of FPE, its psycho-evolutionary theoretical foundation and assessment by the Fear of Positive Evaluation Scale as well as relevant psychometric research on demographic characteristics. The relationship of FPE with a wide range of established dimensions from clinical, personality, and social psychology (i.e., self-esteem, perfectionism, or quality of life) will be reviewed. The role of FPE for psychological comorbidities such as other anxiety disorders, depression, eating, and substance use disorders as well as for treatment of social anxiety will be discussed. Future research might address questions of causality of FPE relative to related constructs, further data on psychometric properties, as well as on its independence from FNE in longitudinal studies. In sum, FPE seems to be a valid and reliable construct that explains cognitions, emotions, and behavior related to social anxiety at subclinical and clinical levels and therefore enriches the psychometric repertoire in the fields of social psychology, personality, and clinical psychology.

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