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Pathways to social anxiety: the role of reinforcement sensitivities and emotion regulation
journal contributionposted on 2014-12-30, 00:00 authored by E J O'Connor, Petra StaigerPetra Staiger, Nicolas KambouropoulosNicolas Kambouropoulos, L D Smillie
Past research has demonstrated a strong relationship between threat sensitivity and social anxiety; however, the relationship between reward sensitivity and social anxiety is less clear. Further, the role that emotion regulation (ER) may play in the expression of social anxiety disorder (SAD) is rarely considered. The current study tested whether two emotion regulation strategies (emotional suppression and cognitive reappraisal) mediated associations between threat sensitivity and reward sensitivity and social anxiety in a community sample (402 adults, 78% female; Mage=32.49, S.D.age=11.53). Path analyses indicated that low reappraisal mediated the relationship between high threat sensitivity and high social anxiety; and both low reappraisal and high suppression mediated the relationship between low reward sensitivity and high social anxiety. These results highlight the potential role that emotion regulation plays in the relationship between trait motivation and social anxiety.