The Effectiveness of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) on Fear of Negative Evaluation (FNE) and Social Adjustment in Female Students with Social Phobia

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Counseling and Educational Sciences, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran

2 Department of Psychology, Islamic Azad University of Quchan,, Iran

3 Department of Psychology, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran


 The present study aimed at determining the effect of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) on fear of negative evaluation (FNE) and social adjustment in female students with social phobia. The population of the study consisted of all female students of Mashhad Higher Education Institute of Engineers (Northeastern Iran). Thirty students were selected randomly from among those whose had high scores in the social phobia questionnaire. They responded to the FNE and social adjustment scales. The research was quasi-experimental following a pretest-posttest control group design. The experimental group received an intervention protocol, while the control group received no intervention. The data were analyzed using Univariate/Multivariate covariance analysis (ANCOVA & MANCOVA) through SPSS v.21. The findings indicated that the EMDR leads to reduced FNE (F = 35.20, p < 0.0001, ή = 0.773) and increased social adjustment (F = 41.07, p < 0.0001, ή = 0.699). Having participated in the EMDR therapy, students with social phobia reported reduced symptoms of social phobia, such as FNE and greater social adjustment. The EMDR is an effective therapeutic approach to reducing anxiety disorders, including social phobia and enhancing social adjustment.


Main Subjects

Amano, T., & Toichi, M. (2016). Possible neural mechanisms of psychotherapy for trauma-related symptoms: cerebral responses to the neuropsychological treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder model individuals. Scientific Reports, 6, 34610.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5®). American Psychiatric Pub.
Amidnia, E., Abdolkazem, N., & Soodani, M. (2010). Assertiveness and individual-social Adjustment range in female students. Andisheh & Raftar5(17), 37-46.
Ashayeri, H., Homan, H., Jamalifiroozabadi, M., Vatankhah, HR. (2011). The effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), drug treatment and cognitive therapy in reducing anxiety symptoms. Psychological Research, 1(3), 51-60.
Aslani, J., Miratashi, M., & Aslani, L. (2014). Effectiveness of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy on Public Speaking Anxiety of University Students. Zahedan Journal of Research in Medical Sciences16(10), 46-49.
Attari, Y., Shaheni, M., Koochaki, A. M., & Beshlideh, K. (2005). The effectiveness of Group Skills Training on Social Adjustment of Juvenile Delinquents in Gonbad Kavoos Town. Journal of Educational Sciences and Psychology of Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, 3(2), 25-46.
Atasoy, M., Karabulut, E. O., & Yalçinkaya, A. (2016). Study on fear of negative evaluation, and social appearance anxiety of university students engaged in futsal. Journal of Physical Education and Sport Management7(7), 50-55.
Bell, H. M. (1962). The Adjustment Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
Barzegar Befrooei, K. (2015). The Effect of Empathy Education on Girl Student's Aggression and Social Adjustment. Quarterly Research on School and Virtual Learning, 3(9), 21-32.
Button, K. S., Kounali, D., Stapinski, L., Rapee, R. M., Lewis, G., & Munafò, M. R. (2015). Fear of negative evaluation biases social evaluation inference: Evidence from a probabilistic learning task. PloS one, 10(4), e0119456.
Chen, Y. R., Hung, K. W., Tsai, J. C., Chu, H., Chung, M. H., Chen, S. R., ... & Chou, K. R. (2014). Efficacy of eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing for patients with posttraumatic-stress disorder: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS One9(8), e103676.
Connor, K. M., Davidson, J. R., Churchill, L. E., Sherwood, A., Weisler, R. H., & Foa, E. (2000). Psychometric properties of the Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN): New self-rating scale. The British Journal of Psychiatry176(4), 379-386.
Cremers, H. R., & Roelofs, K. (2016). Social anxiety disorder: a critical overview of neurocognitive research. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science7(4), 218-232.
Dadashzadeh, H., Yazdandoost, R., & Gharraee, B. (2012). Effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral group therapy and exposure therapy on interpretation bias and fear of negative evaluation in social anxiety disorder. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology18(1), 40-51.
Dautovic, E., De Roos, C., Van Rood, Y., Dommerholt, A., & Rodenburg, R. (2016). Pediatric seizure-related posttraumatic stress and anxiety symptoms treated with EMDR: a case series. European Journal of Psychotraumatology7(1), 30123.
Davidson, J. R., Miner, C. M., De Veaugh-Geiss, J., Tupler, L. A., Colket, J. T., & Potts, N. L. S. (1997). The brief social phobia scale: a psychometric evaluation. Psychological Medicine27(1), 161-166.
Davidson, P. R., & Parker, K. C. (2001). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): a meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology69(2), 305.
De Jongh, A., Ernst, R., Marques, L., & Hornsveld, H. (2013). The impact of eye movements and tones on disturbing memories involving PTSD and other mental disorders. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry44(4), 477-483.
Doğan, P. K. (2018). Examining the Relation between the Fear of Negative Evaluation and the Anxiety for Social Appearance in Folk Dancers. Journal of Education and Training Studies6(3), 59-65.
Eskildsen, A., Hougaard, E., & Rosenberg, N. K. (2010). Pre-treatment patient variables as predictors of drop-out and treatment outcome in cognitive behavioural therapy for social phobia: A systematic review. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 64(2), 94-105.
Farima, R., Dowlatabadi, S., & Behzadi, S. (2015). The effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in reducing pathological worry in patients with generalized anxiety disorder: A preliminary study. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy1, 33-43.
Ganesh-Kumar, J., Athilakshmi, R., Maharishi, R., Maya, R. (2015). Relationship between Fear of Negative Evaluation and Anxiety. The International Journal of Indian Psychology, 3(1), 74-80.
Gray, R., Vitak, J., Easton, E. W., & Ellison, N. B. (2013). Examining social adjustment to college in the age of social media: Factors influencing successful transitions and persistence. Computers & Education67, 193-207.
Höfel, L., Eppler, B., Storf, M., Schnöbel-Müller, E., Haas, J. P., & Hügle, B. (2018). Successful treatment of methotrexate intolerance in juvenile idiopathic arthritis using eye movement desensitization and reprocessing–treatment protocol and preliminary results. Pediatric Rheumatology16(1), 11.
Horst, F., Den Oudsten, B., Zijlstra, W., de Jongh, A., Lobbestael, J., & De Vries, J. (2017). Cognitive behavioral therapy vs. eye movement desensitization and reprocessing for treating panic disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Frontiers in Psychology8, 1409.
Karami, J., Heidari, Sharaf P., Shfiei, B. (2015). Relationship of Emotion Control and Emotional Intelligence Strategies with Social Phobia in Students Affected by Visual and Hearing damage. Exceptional Education, 15(1), 5-14.
Khademi, J. (2013). The relationship between emotional intelligence and irrational beliefs and social anxiety of autistic mothers (MA thesis, Islamic Azad University; Marvdasht Branch).
Khanjani, Z., Hashemi, T., Vatani, F. (2016). The effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing on symptoms of special phobia. Journal of Psychological Achievements, 4(2), 1-20.
Kinowski, K. (2003). Put Your Best Foot Forward: An EDMR-related Protocol for Empowerment Using Somatosensory and Visual Priming of Resource Experiences.
Lee, CW., & Cuijpers, P. (2015). What does the data say about the importance of eye movement in EMDR?. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 45(1), 226-8.
Leer, A., Engelhard, IM., Lenaert, B., Struyf, D., Vervliet, B., & Hermans, D. (2017). Eye movement during recall reduces objective memory performance: An extended replication. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 92, 94-105.
Lenferink, L. I., Piersma, E., de Keijser, J., Smid, G. E., & Boelen, P. A. (2017). Cognitive therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing for reducing psychopathology among disaster-bereaved individuals: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Psychotraumatology8(1), 1388710.
Mohammadi, B., & Beige, N. A. (2017). Comparison of Early Maladaptive Schemas and Metacognitive Beliefs between the Students with Social Phobia and the ones with no Psychiatric Problems. Razavi International Journal of Medicine5(4).
Moreno-Alcázar, A., Treen, D., Valiente-Gómez, A., Sio-Eroles, A., Pérez, V., Amann, B. L., & Radua, J. (2017). Efficacy of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing in children and adolescent with post-traumatic stress disorder: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Frontiers in Psychology8, 1750.
Naderi, F., Pasha, G. H., & Makvandi, F. (2007). The Effect of Social Skills Training on Individual-Social Adjustment, Assertiveness and Aggression among Girl Students at Risk. Knowledge and Research in Psychology, 33, 37-62.
Narimani, M., Zargar, Y., Abolghasemi, A., Nasrollahi, A., Ahmadi, V., Dadfar, R., & Sheykh-Akbari, F. (2014). Study the effect of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) on the enhancement of social, affective and health adjustment of prisoners. Scientific Journal of Ilam University of Medical Sciences, 22(1), 52-8.
Neczypor, B. N. (2015). Examining the Relationship between Social Anxiety and Positive Social Attention (Doctoral dissertation, Ohio University).
Pagani, M., Amann, B. L., Landin-Romero, R., & Carletto, S. (2017). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and slow wave sleep: a putative mechanism of action. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(1935),1-7.
Rahmati, B., Adibrad, N., & Tahmasian, K. (2010). The effectiveness of life skill training on social adjustment in children. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences5, 870-874.
Ranjbar-Kashkoee, M. (2013). Social skills and social adjustment. Qom: Kherad Azin Publication.
Ranta, K. (2008). Social phobia among Finnish adolescents: Assessment, epidemiology, comorbidity, and correlates.
Rasooli, Z., Islami, R., & Khademi, A. (2013). Investigating the relationship between physical symptoms, anxiety, depression and social function with emotional intelligence in pilots. Ebne Sina, 15(2), 18-23.
Sabori-Moghaddam, H., Fakhshipoor-Roodsari, A., & Ghahraman-Moharrampoor, N. (2014). The effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing on Posttraumatic stress disorder due to rape. Quarterly of Modern Psychological Research, 9(34), 57-81.
Shafiei, H., Zare, H., Alipoor, A., & Hatami, J. (2014). Fear of negative evaluation of teens and their selective attention to socially threatening words. Advances in Cognitive Science, 16(3), 42-52.
Shahnavazi, A., Delshad, A., Basiri moghaddam, M., & Tavakolizadeh, J. (2016). The effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing on Anxiety in adolescents with thalassemia. PsychoNursing, 4(1), 11-17.
Shapiro, F., & Laliotis, D. (2011). EMDR and the adaptive information processing model: Integrative treatment and case conceptualization. Clinical Social Work Journal39(2), 191-200.
Shapiro, F. (2014). The role of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in medicine: addressing the psychological and physical symptoms stemming from adverse life experiences. The Permanente Journal18(1), 71.
Shapiro, F., & Maxfield, L. (2002). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): Information processing in the treatment of trauma. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(8), 933-46.
Smojver-Ažić, S., Živčić-Bećirević, I., & Jakovčić, I. (2010). The contribution of personality traits and academic and social adjustment to life satisfaction and depression in college freshmen. Psihološka Obzorja19(3), 5-18.
Solomon, R. M., & Rando, T. A. (2012). Treatment of grief and mourning through EMDR: Conceptual considerations and clinical guidelines. Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée/European Review of Applied Psychology62(4), 231-239.
Solomon, R. M., & Shapiro, F. (2008). EMDR and the adaptive information processing modelpotential mechanisms of change. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 2(4), 315-25.
Takagishi, H., Fujii, T., Nishina, K., & Okada, H. (2016). Fear of Negative Evaluation Moderates the Effect of Subliminal Fear Priming on Rejection of Unfair Offers in the Ultimatum Game. Scientific Reports6, 31446.
Valiente-Gómez, A., Moreno-Alcázar, A., Treen, D., Cedrón, C., Colom, F., Pérez, V., & Amann, B. L. (2017). EMDR beyond PTSD: A systematic literature review. Frontiers in Psychology8, 1668.
Van der Molen, M. J. W., Poppelaars, E. S., Van Hartingsveldt, C. T. A., Harrewijn, A., Gunther Moor, B., & Westenberg, P. M. (2014). Fear of negative evaluation modulates electrocortical and behavioral responses when anticipating social evaluative feedback. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7(936), 1-12.
Wood, E., & Ricketts, T. (2013). Is EMDR an Evidenced-Based Treatment for Depression? A Review of the Literature. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 7(4), 225–236.
Weeks, J. W., Heimberg, R. G., Fresco, D. M., Hart, T. A., Turk, C. L., Schneier, F. R., & Liebowitz, M. R. (2005). Empirical validation and psychometric evaluation of the Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale in patients with social anxiety disorder. Psychological Assessment17(2), 179.
Weeks, J. W., Heimberg, R. G., & Rodebaugh, T. L. (2008). The Fear of Positive Evaluation Scale: Assessing a proposed cognitive component of social anxiety. Journal of Anxiety Disorders22(1), 44-55.
Wilson, G., Farrell, D., Barron, I., Hutchins, J., Whybrow, D., & Kiernan, M. D. (2018). The Use of Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy in Treating Post-traumatic Stress Disorder—A Systematic Narrative Review. Frontiers in Psychology9.
Wong, N., Sarver, D. E., & Beidel, D. C. (2012). Quality of life impairments among adults with social phobia: The impact of subtype. Journal of Anxiety Disorders26(1), 50-57.