Compensatory deficits following rejection: The role of social anxiety in disrupting affiliative behavior

Michael A. Mallott, Jon K. Maner, Nathan Dewall, Norman B. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background: Managing perceived or actual social rejection is an important facet of meeting basic needs for affiliation. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by significant distress and debilitation relating to affiliation and recent work suggests higher levels of social anxiety symptoms may adversely affect responses to social rejection. This study examined emotional and behavioral responding to a social rejection stressor to explore whether social anxiety moderates the effects of social rejection on prosocial compensatory behaviors. Methods: Individuals (N537) evaluated on social anxiety symptoms were assigned to either a social rejection condition or control condition. Results: Consistent with expectation, rejection promoted renewed interest in connecting with sources of positive social interaction among participants low in social anxiety. Participants with higher levels of social anxiety, however, failed to react to rejection in a positive or prosocial manner and exhibited some evidence of negative social responses. Conclusions: Such differential compensatory responding could have important implications for the genesis, maintenance, and treatment of SAD. Depression and Anxiety 26:438-446, 2009.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-446
Number of pages9
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Prosocial behavior
  • Social anxiety
  • Social phobia
  • Social rejection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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