Responses to perceived intimate partner rejection among individuals with social anxiety disorder and healthy controls
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Individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) demonstrate impaired functioning in intimate relationships, yet little is known about how socially anxious individuals respond to perceived intimate partner rejection. In the present study, individuals with SAD (n = 30) and healthy controls (HCs; n = 33) who were involved in current intimate relationships completed daily diaries each evening for 14 days. Daily diaries assessed the extent to which participants experienced feelings of rejection in their intimate relationships, as well as the extent to which they responded to feelings of rejection by using behaviors characterized by withdrawal ("withdrawal" processes) versus efforts to reaffiliate with their partners ("approach" processes). Results revealed that overall, individuals with SAD exhibited greater use of withdrawal-focused processes, whereas HC participants exhibited greater use of approach-focused processes. However, on days following intimate partner rejection, only individuals with SAD restricted their use of withdrawal-focused processes. These findings provide insight into the nature of rejection concerns and responses to rejection among individuals with SAD as compared with HC participants.
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