Sensory-processing sensitivity: A model to predict social anxiety

Kate Moore, Tim Campbell

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Sensory-processing sensitivity, a proposed dimension of personality, refers to people’s emotional reactivity and depth of processing to environmental stimuli. Research has consistently concluded that highly sensitive people are more acutely susceptible to experiencing social anxiety. The aim in this study was to test a model proposing that the use of avoidant coping strategies mediates the relationship between sensory-processing sensitivity and social anxiety, and that the relationship between sensory-processing sensitivity and avoidant coping is moderated by the quality of the parental environment experienced in childhood. A sample of 353 adults (260 female, 90 males, M = 29.76 years) was recruited through social networking websites to complete an online survey. Results provided partial support for the model. As hypothesised, higher sensory-processing sensitivity predicted greater use of avoidant coping strategies and increased social anxiety. The use of avoidant coping strategies had a significant mediation effect on the relationship between sensory-processing sensitivity and social anxiety. The hypothesis that the relationship between sensory-processing sensitivity and avoidant coping would be moderated by the parental bonding style experienced in childhood was not supported. These findings suggest that the use of avoidant coping strategies is a characteristic behaviour of highly sensitive people that develops autonomously, and that, consistent with a diathesis-stress perspective, high levels of sensory- processing sensitivity may be a marker of dispositional vulnerability to social anxiety. Subsequent research should be directed at identifying and integrating additional factors that contribute to the relationship between sensory-processing sensitivity, avoidant coping, and social anxiety to build upon the predictive qualities of the partially mediated model so far defined.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventAnnual Conference of the Stress and Anxiety Research Society 2018 - John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
Duration: 10 Jul 201813 Jul 2018
Conference number: 39th
https://39star2018.wixsite.com/star2018

Conference

ConferenceAnnual Conference of the Stress and Anxiety Research Society 2018
Abbreviated titleSTAR Conference
CountryPoland
CityLublin
Period10/07/1813/07/18
Internet address

Keywords

  • Sensory-processing sensitivity
  • Social anxiety
  • Coping
  • Parental bonding
  • Moderated-mediation model

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