A multilevel analysis of the interpersonal behavior of socially anxious people

J Pers. 2003 Jun;71(3):397-434. doi: 10.1111/1467-6494.7103006.


We investigate the interpersonal behavior of socially anxious (SA) and non-socially anxious (NSA) individuals at three different levels of analysis, focusing on the dimensions of warmth and dominance. Study 1 examines self-reported general interaction styles, Study 2 explores behavior occurring within the context of a single interaction, and in Study 3 we focus on the performance of a single conversational act (a disagreement). Studies 1 and 2 adopt the framework of Interpersonal Circumplex Theory (IPC; Kiesler, 1983), which is well suited for studying trait-level and interaction-level social behaviors, while Study 3 is grounded in Politeness Theory (PT; Brown & Levinson, 1987), which can be used to analyze individual acts at the microstructural level. The potential mutual relevance of PT and IPC is also discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dominance-Subordination
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychometrics
  • Social Environment
  • Social Identification
  • Social Perception
  • Students / psychology