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Examining Whether Social Anxiety Influences Satisfaction in Romantic Relationships

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2021

Frances L. Doyle*
School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia Western Sydney University, The MARCS Institute for Brain Behaviour and Development, School of Psychology, Sydney, Australia
Andrew J. Baillie
NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia Sydney School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine & Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Erica Crome
NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
*Corresponding author: Frances L. Doyle, School of Psychology, The MARCS Institute for Brain Behaviour and Development, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, Australia. Email:
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Research investigating social anxiety and the impacts on romantic relationships remains scarce. An online questionnaire examining romantic relationship status, social anxiety and depression symptomology, relationship satisfaction, and several relationship processes was completed by 444 adults. Individuals with higher social anxiety were less likely to be in romantic relationships. For the 188 adults in our sample in current relationships, relationship satisfaction was not influenced by social anxiety when controlling for depression. Although it was proposed that self-disclosure, social support, trust, and conflict initiation might influence romantic relationship satisfaction, none of these mechanisms interacted with social anxiety to explain additional variance in relationship satisfaction. These findings indicate that depression symptomology may be a treatment target for socially anxious individuals wishing to improve romantic relationship satisfaction.

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy

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