Purpose: Socially anxious people are typically thought of as being behaviorally
inhibited; however, an atypical subgroup, which is impulsive rather than inhibited,
has recently been identified . Theoretically, inhibition and impulsivity could
be viewed as different strategies for coping with anxiety that have the same goal—escape
from negative emotions—but they seem to have different implications. Previous studies
have found that the socially anxious-impulsive subgroup was higher on risk-prone
behavior, as for example drug use, compared with a socially anxious-inhibited subgroup
. In this study, we aimed to identify these subgroups in a general population,
and asked whether they also experience various levels of depressive symptoms and
life satisfaction, as well as moderating effects of gender. Methods: Cluster analysis
was used to identify subgroups of young adults (20 - 24 years old; N = 772) characterized by different profiles
of social anxiety and impulsivity. These subgroups were compared on levels of internal
adjustment, and the moderating effects of gender were also tested. Results: We identified
five clusters, including an Anxious-Inhibited and an Anxious-Impulsive cluster.
In the interaction between gender and cluster membership, gender showed evidence
of moderation regarding both depressive symptoms and life satisfaction, with the
young women in the Anxious-Inhibited and the Anxious-Impulsive
clusters faring worst. Conclusions: We replicated previous findings demonstrating
the existence of a socially anxious-impulsive subgroup, thus solidifying current
knowledge that may be important when it comes to diagnostics and treatment. This
may prove particularly important for young women regarding internalizing symptoms.
Cite this paper
Tillfors, M. , Mörtberg, E. , Zalk, N. and Kerr, M. (2013) Inhibited and impulsive subgroups of socially anxious young adults: Their depressive symptoms and life satisfaction. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3, 195-201. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.31A016.
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