Interpersonal pathoplasticity in social phobia: A clinical replication

Open Access
Cain, Nicole M
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
May 08, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Aaron Lee Pincus, Dissertation Advisor
  • Aaron Lee Pincus, Committee Chair
  • Kenneth Levy, Committee Member
  • Michelle Gayle Newman, Committee Member
  • Dennis Edward Heitzmann, Committee Member
  • interpersonal circumplex
  • personality assessment
  • interpersonal theory
  • social phobia
A number of research investigations have found that individual differences in interpersonal problems exhibit pathoplastic relationships with pathological symptoms and mental disorders. The current study sought to expand the research of Kachin, Newman, and Pincus (2001) by providing evidence for the interpersonal pathoplasticity of social phobia in a sample of 77 socially phobic outpatients who had completed a course of psychotherapy. Using the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems – Circumplex Scales (IIP-C; Alden, Wiggins, & Pincus, 1990), this study was generally able to replicate Kachin et al. by finding two interpersonally-based clusters of socially phobic patients. These clusters did not differ on pre-treatment symptom severity or comorbidity but did exhibit differential responses to psychotherapy. Overall, this study found that Friendly-Submissive social phobics had significantly lower scores on measures of social anxiety and significantly higher scores on measures of well-being and satisfaction at post-treatment than Cold-Submissive social phobics. The results of this study are discussed in terms of interpersonal theory and the clinical relevance of an assessment of interpersonal functioning prior to beginning psychotherapy with socially phobic patients.