People with social anxiety consider state of their friendships worse than it actually is

People with social anxiety consider state of their friendships worse than it actually isWashington, Nov 13 - A new study has revealed that people with social anxiety disorder often overestimate how bad their relationships are with friends, when compared to what the friends say.

The study from Washington University in St. Louis found that people who are impaired by high social anxiety typically think they are coming across much worse than they really are and think the same when it comes to their friendships with people.

Study co-author Thomas Rodebaugh, PhD, associate professor of psychology in Arts and Sciences said that such people report that their friendships are worse, but their friends didn't see it the same way, while their friends said that the friendship was different, but not worse.

Researchers found that the misconception regarding their friendship was stronger and more prevalent among younger study participants and in situations where the friendship was relatively new.

Rodebaugh said that the friends of people with social anxiety disorder did seem to be aware that their friends were having trouble, and additionally saw the person with social anxiety disorder as less dominant in the friendship.

The findings could play an important role in helping people with social anxiety disorder understand that their friendships may not be as terrible as they might imagine. Helping people form friendships is in itself important, because many studies confirm that the lack of strong social networks can leave people vulnerable to a host of problems, including disease, depression and even earlier mortality.

Much more than simple shyness, social anxiety disorder is a recognized psychiatric condition in which those struggling with the affliction often live in fear of meeting new people, passing up social invitations or work opportunities for fear of being rejected, embarrassed or otherwise singled out as a failure.

The study was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. (ANI)