When the heat is on: Romantic partner responses influence distress in socially anxious women


This study provided a preliminary test of whether socially anxious women and their partners would show more negative social support behavior, especially among those with low relationship satisfaction, and whether this would increase the distress of the socially anxious women. Women with (n=22) and without (n=23) heightened social anxiety were observed interacting with their partners under a social-evaluative threat and support behaviors were coded. Unexpectedly, no differences were found between socially and non-socially anxious women and their partners. Although relationship satisfaction influenced this process, it was the more satisfied women who showed more negative behavior. Additionally, the more positive behaviors the partner exhibited, the greater was the distress reported by socially anxious women, particularly among women whose partners reported high relationship satisfaction. Implications for how these findings might expand theories on interpersonal processes in social anxiety are discussed. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Behaviour Research and Therapy