Shyness and Sociotropy: Additive and Interactive Relations in Predicting Interpersonal Concerns

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Abstract

Sociotropy (an aspect of interpersonal dependence) and sociability (affiliative need) were examined as moderator variables of the relationship between shyness and interpersonal concerns in two studies. In Study 1, sociotropy, but not sociability, predicted unique variance in three indices of interpersonal concerns through both direct and interactive relations with shyness. An initial analysis in Study 2 showed that sociotropy, but not sociability, was predictive of participants’ perceived competence in situations that involved initiation of conversations and assertion. In the second part of Study 2, sociotropy accounted for significant increments in variance when predicting cognitive and affective manifestations of distress related to simulated conversation and assertion situations, while sociability did not. Study 2 results suggest that sociotropy operates primarily in an additive manner with shyness in predicting interpersonal concerns, rather than moderating the relation between shyness and interpersonal concerns. Differences in the results of the two studies and implications for future research are discussed.

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