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Behavioral Engagement

Problem: Low behavioral engagement in exposures (engagement in anxiety provoking situations and behaviors), despite evidence that exposures reduce long-term anxiety in social and performance situations. 

Solutions & Outcomes: We developed and empirically tested a model of behavioral engagement during high stress situations. Because increasing the perceived personal value of the behavior emerged as a key mechanism of change, we developed and tested a
personal value building writing task. The task successfully increased behavioral engagement with exposures. 

1.

Purpose & Method: Survey study examining self-efficacy, personal value, and social acceptability as mechanisms leading to behavioral engagement in social situations despite high social anxiety.

Outcome: Self-efficacy and personal value were the strongest correlates of behavioral engagement, providing evidence that increasing self-efficacy and/or personal value of engaging in an anxiety-provoking behavior increases engagement in that behavior.

2.

Purpose & Method: Randomized controlled experiment examining the impact of increasing the personal value of engaging in a social anxiety-provoking behavior (recording a speech for a blog).

Outcome: Individuals completing the personal value building writing task had higher rates of behavioral engagement. Our findings indicate that having individuals reflect on why engaging in an anxiety-provoking behavior is personally important to them increases the likelihood of them engaging in that behavior

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