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Shying Away From a Good Thing: Social Anxiety in Romantic Relationships

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Abstract

Objectives

To determine whether social anxiety covaries with satisfaction, social support, and intimacy in romantic relationships.

Method

Undergraduates and their romantic partners (N = 163) completed self-report questionnaires.

Results

Higher social anxiety in women, but not men, was associated with wanting, receiving, and providing less support, based on self- but not partner-report measures. Women higher in social anxiety also reported being less satisfied in their romantic relationships and self-disclosing less to romantic partners than women lower in social anxiety. Further, self-reported received support mediated the relationship between social anxiety and romantic relationship satisfaction in women. In both sexes, higher social anxiety was related to perceiving intimacy as riskier and romantic relationships as less emotionally intimate.

Conclusions

Together, results suggest that social anxiety is associated with interpersonal difficulty even in established romantic relationships.

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