Journal of Mental Health
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Romantic relationship quality and functioning for individuals with clinical and sub-clinical social anxiety: a scoping review

Publication Date Jul 3, 2022

Abstract

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is associated with pervasive functional impairments and chronicity. Romantic relationship functioning and quality for individuals with SAD has been previously explored but existing studies have not been synthesised. This scoping review charted existing literature regarding the quality and functioning of romantic relationships for people with SAD and high sub-clinical social anxiety (SA). The review used a scoping approach to explore the current evidence base relating to SA, romantic relationship quality and functioning. Articles published in English after 1980 that reported either clinical or high sub-clinical SA were eligible. Double screening, data extraction, quality assessment, and thematic analysis of studies was conducted. 50 studies from 46 articles were identified, involving a range of community, college, adolescent, and clinical samples. Thematic analysis identified four themes; Relationship Quality, Satisfaction and Commitment; Communication and Self-Disclosure; Conflict, Social Support and Trust; Intimacy, Closeness and Sexual Satisfaction. The review highlights that evidence relating to romantic relationship functioning for individuals with SAD and high sub-clinical SA is heterogeneous, with relationship initiation in particular relatively under-explored. Further research is required to elucidate key constructs and interpersonal processes related to relationship functioning, and to inform treatment approaches with this group.

Concepts

Romantic Relationship Quality Romantic Relationship Functioning Sub-clinical Social Anxiety Social Anxiety Disorder Relationship Quality Romantic Relationship Sub-clinical Anxiety Double Screening Quality For Individuals Double Data Extraction

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