1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum



Updated July 07, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: Overgeneralization is the cognitive distortion of taking an isolated event and broadly generalizing about it. In the context of social anxiety disorder (SAD), it tends to take form as a thinking pattern in which a single failure is viewed as one more example of a pattern of defeat. Overgeneralization is usually identified as a problematic thought process during cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). During CBT, the client is asked to examine the validity of the thought and identify possible alternatives.
John makes a mistake while speaking in a meeting at work. He thinks to himself, "This always happens to me, I will never be any good in meetings." This defeating thought was an overgeneralization.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.