Journal of Abnormal Psychology2014-12-01 11:58 AM

Self and Friend’s Differing Views of Social Anxiety Disorder’s Effects on Friendships

Abstract

Social anxiety disorder is known to be associated with self-report of global friendship quality. However, information about specific friendships, as well as information beyond self-report, is lacking. Such information is crucial, because known biases in information processing related to social anxiety disorder render global self-ratings particularly difficult to interpret. We examined these issues focusing on diagnosed participants (n = 77) compared with community control participants (n = 63). We examined self-report regarding global (i.e., overall) friendship quality and a specific friendship’s quality; in addition, we examined friend-report of that friendship’s quality. Results suggested that social anxiety disorder has a negative impact on self-perception of friendship quality for a specific friendship, but that this effect is less evident as reported by the friends. Specifically, social anxiety disorder was associated with a tendency to report worse friendship quality in comparison to friend-report, particularly in participants who were younger or had less long-lasting friendships. However, friend-report did show clear differences based on diagnostic group, with friends reporting participants with social anxiety disorder to be less dominant in the friendship and less well-adjusted. Overall, the findings are consistent with results of other studies indicating that social anxiety disorder has a strong association with self-ratings of impairment, but that these ratings appear out of proportion with the report of observers.

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Journal of Abnormal Psychology

The Journal of Abnormal Psychology publishes articles on basic research and theory in the broad field of abnormal behavior, its determinants, and its correlates.

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