Neuropsychological Comparison Between Patients with Social Anxiety and Healthy Controls: Weak Central Coherence and Visual Scanning Deficit
Received 25 September 2020
Accepted for publication 31 October 2020
Published 25 November 2020 Volume 2020:16 Pages 2849—2855
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single anonymous peer review
Peer reviewer comments 3
Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi
Sho Okawa,1– 3 Sayo Hamatani,2,4 Yuta Hayashi,5,6 Honami Arai,2,7 Masato Nihei,2,4 Tokiko Yoshida,2 Jumpei Takahashi,1,2 Eiji Shimizu,2,3 Yoshiyuki Hirano1,2
1United Graduate School of Child Development, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan; 2Research Center of Child Mental Development, Chiba University, Chiba-shi, Chiba 260-8670, Japan; 3Department of Cognitive Behavioral Physiology, Chiba University, Chiba-shi, Chiba 260-8670, Japan; 4Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0083, Japan; 5Department of Nursing, Graduate School of Health Sciences, Kobe University, Suma-ku, Kobe 654-0142, Japan; 6Graduate School of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Miyazaki, Miyazaki 889-1692, Japan; 7Faculty of Human Sciences, Tsukuba University, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0012, Japan
Correspondence: Yoshiyuki Hirano
Research Center of Child Mental Development, Chiba University, 1-8-1, Inohana, Chuo Ward, Chiba-shi, Chiba 260-8670, Japan
Introduction: Although deficits in neuropsychological functioning have been reported in social anxiety disorder (SAD), studies focusing on neuropsychological dysfunction in SAD are limited, and the evidence is still lacking. The purpose of this study was to examine the deficits in neuropsychological functioning in patients with SAD by comparing SAD patients and a healthy control (HC) group.
Materials and Methods: A total of 72 participants (20 in the SAD group and 52 in the HC group) were assessed with neuropsychological tests, consisting of the Rey Complex Figure Test (RCFT) to measure central coherence and the Trail Making Test A and B (TMT-A; TMT-B) to measure visual scanning and executive functioning.
Results: Analysis of covariance with depressive symptoms as a covariate revealed that central coherence (RCFT) and visual scanning (TMT-A) were significantly lower in the SAD group than in the HC group. No difference was found in executive functioning (TMT-B) when the effect of visual scanning was considered.
Discussion: Our findings suggest that SAD patients have weak central coherence and deficits in visual scanning compared to healthy controls. The clinical implications of these neuropsychological functioning deficits in SAD patients are discussed.
Keywords: social anxiety disorder, neuropsychological functioning, central coherence, visual scanning, executive functioning