Interpersonal consequences of the pursuit of safety

Behav Res Ther. 1998 Jan;36(1):53-64. doi: 10.1016/s0005-7967(97)00072-7.


Socially anxious (N = 41) and non-anxious (N = 41) individuals participated in a getting acquainted situation that was based on the reciprocity self-disclosure paradigm. Subjects' appraisals of the situation were manipulated to be either positive or negative by highlighting the likelihood of positive or negative social outcomes. Subjects' social goals and use of safety behaviors were assessed, as were others' reaction to the subjects. As predicted, socially anxious individuals elicited significantly more negative responses from others in the negative appraisal condition, where they employed safety behaviors, than in the positive appraisal condition, where they did not. The results supported a cognitive model of social anxiety, rather than alternative explanations.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Arousal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychological Distance
  • Reinforcement, Social
  • Safety*
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Social Perception
  • Students / psychology