How real do you feel? Self- and partner-authenticity in social anxiety disorder.

Maya Asher, Idan M. Aderka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) experience substantial impairment in close and intimate relationships. To enhance our understanding of this impairment and the way it develops, we examined dyadic opposite sex interactions of individuals with and without SAD. Participants were 160 individuals who formed 80 dyads including either 1 individual with SAD and another nonsocially anxious (NSA) individual (42 experimental dyads), or 2 NSA individuals (38 control dyads). We examined self- and partner-ratings of authenticity of both partners at 3 time points over the course of the 30-min interaction. Multilevel linear models indicated that individuals with SAD reported lower self-authenticity compared to NSA individuals (both compared to their interaction partners and compared to those from control dyads). In addition, increases in self-authenticity during the interaction were significantly lower for the experimental dyads compared to the control dyads. Specifically, both individuals with SAD and their NSA partners experienced lower increases in self-authenticity compared to NSA individuals from the control dyads. We also found that individuals with SAD rated their partners as less authentic compared to both their NSA interaction partners as well as NSA individuals from the control dyads. We discuss our findings in the context of cognitive and interpersonal models and suggest that authenticity may contribute to deleterious maintaining processes of SAD. Clinical implications of our findings are also discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) General Scientific Summary—This study supports the notion that perceptions of both self- and partner-authenticity may play a role in SAD. Compared to NSA individuals, those with SAD were found to have negative biases (e.g., rating themselves as less authentic than others rate themselves) as well as lacking positive biases about others (e.g., rating others as more authentic than they rate themselves).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-176
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 21 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association


  • authenticity
  • interpersonal interactions
  • negative biases
  • positive biases
  • social anxiety disorder
  • Phobia, Social/psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Emotions
  • Sex Factors
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Anxiety/psychology
  • Interpersonal Relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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