, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 171-186

Is Social Anxiety Associated With Both Interpersonal Avoidance and Interpersonal Dependence?

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We tested the hypothesis that social anxiety is associated with both interpersonal avoidance and interpersonal dependency. Specifically, we predicted that dependence would be evident in developmentally salient close relationships upon which socially anxious people may rely. One hundred sixty-eight young people undergoing the transition to adulthood completed self-report measures of anxiety and interpersonal patterns. Results indicated that both dependent and avoidant interpersonal styles in romantic relationships, but not other relationships, were uniquely associated with social anxiety. These results remained when controlling for depressive symptoms, anxiety sensitivity, and trait anxiety. Our findings illustrate that social anxiety is not characterized solely by interpersonal avoidance as current conceptualizations suggest. Implications for models and treatment of social anxiety are discussed.