Positive emotions and social anxiety: The unique role of pride

Lior Cohen*, Jonathan D. Huppert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Social anxiety is correlated with diminished global positive affect (PA). However, it is not clear from the data whether this relationship is due to global PA, or to specific emotions such as joy or pride. We hypothesized that pride will account for most of the relationship between social anxiety and PA after controlling for depression. Results of Study 1 (N = 352) supported the hypothesis that when pride and PA were in the same model, only pride was significantly related to social anxiety. The same pattern was found when pride and joy were in the same model. When multiple facets of positive emotions (pride, love, joy, contentment, amusement, awe and compassion) were in the same model, only pride and love were significantly related to social anxiety. Results of Study 2 (N = 288) replicated the findings that only pride was significantly related to social anxiety, but counter to our hypothesis, revealed that pride experience was significantly related to social anxiety more than reported expressions of pride. Study 3 extended these findings to a clinical, treatment seeking sample of 23 patients diagnosed with generalized social anxiety disorder and 35 low-anxious controls. When predicting group (patients vs. non-patient) by pride and PA, only pride was a significant predictor. Pride continued to be a predictor when controlling for either fear of positive or negative evaluation. Thus, all three studies demonstrated the importance of the specific experience of pride in its relationship to social anxiety.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)524-538
Number of pages15
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 22 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding This research was partially supported by Israel Science Foundation Grant #3302/09 to the second author and the Sturman Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018.


  • Joy
  • Positive affect
  • Positive emotions
  • Pride
  • Social anxiety disorder


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