Attributional mediators of social inhibition and avoidance

Authors


and requests for reprints should be addressed to Mark R Leary, Department of Psychology, PO Box 7778, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109

Abstract

People differ in the degree to which they become inhibited and avoidant when they feel socially anxious This study explored the hypothesis that characterological attributions for one's feelings of nervousness in social settings are related to social inhibition and avoidance In a preliminary study, the dimensions people use to explain their feelings of nervousness and relaxation were determined One hundred and twenty-five subjects then completed measures of social anxiousness, inhibition, and avoidance, and made attributions for feeling nervous and relaxed in 10 interpersonal scenarios As predicted, attributions of nervousness to characterological factors, such as ability and personality traits, correlated positively with social inhibition and avoidance Unexpectedly, behavioral attributions for nervousness also predicted inhibition and avoidance

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