Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-c4f8m Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-22T23:48:50.978Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Examining Whether Social Anxiety Influences Satisfaction in Romantic Relationships

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2021

Frances L. Doyle*
Affiliation:
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
Affiliation:
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
Affiliation:
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: f.doyle@westernsydney.edu.au
Get access

Abstract

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.

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

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Afram, K and Kashdan, TB (2015). Coping with rejection concerns in romantic relationships: An experimental investigation of social anxiety and risk regulation. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 4, 151156. doi:10.1016/j.jcbs.2015.04.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alden, LE and Taylor, CT (2004). Interpersonal processes in social phobia. Clinical Psychology Review, 24, 857882. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2004.07.006.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.Google Scholar
Beck, JG, Davila, J, Farrow, S and Grant, D (2006). When the heat is on: Romantic partner responses influence distress in socially anxious women. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 737748. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2005.05.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bennett, DA (2001). How can I deal with missing data in my study. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 25, 464469. doi:10.1111/j.1467842X.2001.tb00294.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bienvenu, OJ, Nestadt, G, Samuels, JF, Costa, PT, Howard, WT and Eaton, WW (2001). Phobic, panic, and major depressive disorders and the five-factor model of personality. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 189, 154161. doi:10.1097/00005053-200103000-00003.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Brown, TA, Chorpita, BF, Korotitsch, W and Barlow, DH (1997). Psychometric properties of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) in clinical samples. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 35, 7989. doi:10.1016/S0005-7967(96)00068-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Campbell, L, Simpson, JA, Boldry, JG and Rubin, H (2010). Trust, variability in relationship evaluations, and relationship processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 14. doi:10.1037/a0019714.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Coyne, JC (1976). Toward an interactional description of depression. Psychiatry, 39, 2840.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Crawford, JR and Henry, JD (2003). The Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS): Normative data and latent structure in a large non-clinical sample. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 42, 111131. doi:10.1348/014466503321903544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cuming, S and Rapee, RM (2010). Social anxiety and self-protective communication style in close relationships. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48, 8796. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2009.09.010.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Danneel, S, Geukens, F, Maes, M, Bastin, M, Bijttebier, P, Colpin, H, …, Goossens, L (2020). Loneliness, social anxiety symptoms, and depressive symptoms in adolescence: Longitudinal distinctiveness and correlated change. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49, 22462264. doi:10.1007/s10964-020-01315-w.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Darcy, K, Davila, J and Beck, JG (2005). Is social anxiety associated with both interpersonal avoidance and interpersonal dependence? Cognitive Therapy and Research, 29, 171186. doi:10.1007/s10608-005-3163-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davila, J and Beck, JG (2002). Is social anxiety associated with impairment in close relationships? A Preliminary Investigation. Behaviour Therapy, 33, 427446. doi:10.1016/S0005-7894(02)80037-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Denton, WH and Burleson, BR (2007). The Initiator Style Questionnaire: A scale to assess initiator tendency in couples. Personal Relationships, 14, 245268. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6811.2007.00153.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heimberg, RG, Horner, K, Juster, H, Safren, S, Brown, E, Schneier, F and Liebowitz, M (1999). Psychometric properties of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale. Psychological Medicine, 29, 199212. doi:10.1017/S0033291798007879.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kashdan, TB, Volkmann, J, Breen, WE and Han, S (2007). Social anxiety and romantic relationships: The costs and benefits of negative emotion expression are context-dependent. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 21, 475492. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2006.08.007.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Klein, AM, de Voogd, L, Wiers, RW and Salemink, E (2018). Biases in attention and interpretation in adolescents with varying levels of anxiety and depression. Cognition and Emotion, 32, 14781486. doi:10.1080/02699931.2017.1304359.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lampe, L, Slade, T, Issakidis, C and Andrews, G (2003). Social phobia in the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being (NSMHWB). Psychological Medicine, 33, 637646. doi:10.1017/S0033291703007621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Larzelere, RE and Huston, TL (1980). The Dyadic Trust Scale: Toward understanding interpersonal trust in close relationships. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 42, 595604. doi:10.2307/351903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lewinsohn, PM (1974). A behavioural approach to depression. In Friedman, RJ and Katz, MM (Eds.), The psychology of depression: Contemporary theory and research (pp. 157178). Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
Liebowitz, MR (1987). Social phobia. Modern Problems of Pharmacopsychiatry, 22, 141173. doi:10.1159/000414022.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Little, RJA (1988). A test of missing completely at random for multivariate data with missing values. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 83, 11981202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lovibond, PF and Lovibond, SH (1995). The structure of negative emotional states: Comparison of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) with the beck depression and anxiety inventories. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33, 335343. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(94)00075-U.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mennin, DS, Fresco, DM, Heimberg, RG, Schneier, FR, Davies, SO and Liebowitz, MR (2002). Screening for social anxiety disorder in the clinical setting: Using the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 16, 661673. doi:10.1016/S0887-6185(02)00134-2.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mewton, L, Hobbs, M, Sunderland, M, Newby, J and Andrews, G (2014). Reductions in the internalising construct following internet-delivered treatment for anxiety and depression in primary care. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 63, 132138. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2014.10.001.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Montesi, JL, Conner, BT, Gordon, EA, Fauber, RL, Kim, KH and Heimberg, RG (2013). On the relationship among social anxiety, intimacy, sexual communication, and sexual satisfaction in young couples. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 8191. doi:10.1007/s10508-012-9929-3.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Montgomery, RL, Haemmerlie, FM and Edwards, M (1991). Social, personal, and interpersonal deficits in socially anxious people. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 6, 859872.Google Scholar
Porter, E and Chambless, DL (2014). Shying away from a good thing: Social anxiety in romantic relationships. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70, 546561. doi:10.1002/jclp.22048.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rapee, RM and Spence, SH (2004). The etiology of social phobia: Empirical evidence and an initial model. Clinical Psychology Review, 24, 737767. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2004.06.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rapee, RM, Oar, EL, Johnco, CJ, Forbes, MK, Fardouly, J, Magson, NR and Richardson, CE (2019). Adolescent development and risk for the onset of social-emotional disorders: A review and conceptual model. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 123, 103501. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2019.103501.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rodebaugh, TL (2009). Social phobia and perceived friendship quality. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23, 872878. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2009.05.001.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rusbult, CE, Martz, JM and Agnew, CR (1998). The investment model scale: Measuring commitment level, satisfaction level, quality of alternatives, and investment size. Personal Relationships, 5, 357387. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6811.1998.tb00177.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ruscio, AM, Brown, TA, Chiu, WT, Sareen, J, Stein, MB and Kessler, RC (2008). Social fears and social phobia in the USA: Results from the national comorbidity survey replication. Psychological Medicine, 38, 1528. doi:10.1017/S0033291707001699.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schneier, FR, Johnson, J, Hornig, CD, Liebowitz, MR and Weissman, MM (1992). Social phobia: Comorbidity and morbidity in an epidemiologic sample. Archives of General Psychiatry, 49, 282288. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820040034004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schneier, FR, Heckelman, LR, Garfinkel, R, Campeas, R, Fallon, BA, Gitow, A, …, Liebowitz, MR (1994). Functional impairment in social phobia. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 55, 322331.Google ScholarPubMed
Sparrevohn, RM and Rapee, RM (2009). Self-disclosure, emotional expression and intimacy within romantic relationships of people with social phobia. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47, 10741078. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2009.07.016.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Spithoven, AWM, Bijttebier, P and Goossens, L (2017). It is all in their mind: A review on information processing bias in lonely individuals. Clinical Psychology Review, 58, 97114. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2017.10.003.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wenzel, A (2002). Characteristics of close relationships in individuals with social phobia: A preliminary comparison with nonanxious individuals. In Harvey, JA and Wenzel, A (Eds.), A clinician's guide to maintaining and enhancing close relationships (pp. 199213). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
Wenzel, G, Graff-Dolezal, J, Macho, M and Brendle, JR (2005). Communication and social skills in socially anxious and nonanxious individuals in the context of romantic relationships. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 43, 505519. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2004.03.010.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wheeless, LR (1978). A follow-up study of the relationships among trust, disclosure, and interpersonal solidarity. Human Communication Research, 4, 143157. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2958.1978.tb00604.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wittchen, HU and Beloch, E (1996). The impact of social phobia on quality of life. International Clinical Psychopharmacology, 11, 1523. doi:10.1097/00004850-199606003-00004.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wittchen, HU and Fehm, L (2003). Epidemiology and natural course of social fears and social phobia. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 108, 418. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0447.108.s417.1.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wittchen, HU, Fuetsch, M, Sonntag, H, Mueller, N and Liebowitz, M (2000). Disability and quality of life in pure and comorbid social phobia: Findings from a controlled study. European Psychiatry, 15, 4658. doi:10.1016/S0924-9338(00)00211-X.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Zimet, GD, Dahlem, NW, Zimet, SG and Farley, GK (1988). The multidimensional scale of perceived social support. Journal of Personality Assessment, 52, 3041. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa5201_2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zimet, GD, Powell, SS, Farley, GK, Werkman, S and Berkoff, KA (1990) Psychometric characteristics of the multidimensional scale of perceived social support. Journal of Personality Assessment 55(3-4), 610617. doi:10.1080/00223891.1990.9674095.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed