Interpersonal subtypes in social phobia: Diagnostic and treatment implications

Nicole M. Cain, Aaron L. Pincus, Martin Grosse Holtforth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Interpersonal assessment may provide a clinically useful way to identify subtypes of social phobia. In this study, we examined evidence for interpersonal subtypes in a sample of 77 socially phobic outpatients. A cluster analysis based on the dimensions of dominance and love on the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems-Circumplex Scales (Alden, Wiggins, & Pincus, 1990) found 2 interpersonal subtypes of socially phobic patients. These subtypes did not differ on pretreatment global symptom severity as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory (Derogatis, 1993) or diagnostic comorbidity but did exhibit differential responses to outpatient psychotherapy. Overall, friendly-submissive social phobia patients had significantly lower scores on measures of social anxiety and significantly higher scores on measures of well-being and satisfaction at posttreatment than cold-submissive social phobia patients. We discuss the results in terms of interpersonal theory and the clinical relevance of assessment of interpersonal functioning prior to beginning psychotherapy with socially phobic patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-527
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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