Self and friend's differing views of social anxiety disorder's effects on friendships

Thomas L. Rodebaugh*, Michelle H. Lim, Katya C. Fernandez, Julia K. Langer, Jaclyn S. Weisman, Natasha Tonge, Cheri A. Levinson, Erik A. Shumaker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

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 (in this case, friends).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-724
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Volume123
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Friendship
  • Interpersonal factors
  • Relationship quality
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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