Individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) have substantial difficulties in romantic relationships. The aim of the present study was to examine initial, opposite-sex interactions of individuals with SAD and their interaction partners. Specifically, we investigated gender and social context (small talk vs. closeness-generating conversations) and their effects on momentary social anxiety during the interaction, as well as on participants’ desire for future interaction. Participants in this study (N = 160) formed 42 experimental dyads, each comprising one individual with SAD and another non–socially anxious (NSA) individual, and 38 control dyads of two NSA individuals. We found that men with SAD benefitted significantly from closeness-generating interactions such that levels of momentary social anxiety were greatly reduced and both members of the dyad reported increased desire for future interaction. This effect was not found in small-talk conversations and not found for women with SAD. Implications for psychopathology and treatment are discussed.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.
- desire for future interaction
- gender differences
- interpersonal processes
- social anxiety disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology