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The relationship between five factor model personality traits and social anxiety

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posted on 2022-03-28, 22:19 authored by Keila C. Brockveld
The thesis investigates individual differences in the expression of social anxiety. Firstly, the impact of personality traits on cross-cultural expression of anxiety was examined. Structural equation modelling was used to examine whether samples would differ in the relationship between social anxiety and personality. Community sample from Australia (n = 374) and Brazil (n = 329) completed the measures of personality and social anxiety. Results suggest that the model of social anxiety and personality seems to be the same across both cultural groups; the Brazilian sample was found to have a significant, stronger relationship between social anxiety and neuroticism than the Australian sample; the dissimilarities might be attributed to individual differences within each culture. Secondly, the thesis investigated whether individual differences in personality were related to differences in severity of social fears in three types of social situations (interaction, performance, and public speaking). Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to test whether the personality domains uniquely predict participants' ratings of fear for the three social fear domains, in two separate samples: community (n = 358) and clinical (n = 217). The results indicate that the five personality domains have different patterns of association with the social fear score depending on the type of situation and the sample (clinical vs. community). Lastly, the thesis explored whether differences in personality moderate treatment outcome in social anxiety disorder. Participants were a clinical sample (n =192) subjects who were referred or self-referred to 12-week group Cognitive-Behavioural treatment for social anxiety disorder. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to explore the moderating effects of personality traits on social anxiety symptoms change with treatment. Results indicated that participants with high levels of agreeableness and extraversion and social anxiety at pre-treatment had more improvement in social anxiety than participants with low agreeableness and extraversion. As a whole, the results of the thesis suggest that personality characteristics are important in the expression of social anxiety.


Table of Contents

1. General introduction -- 2. A preliminary examination of the relationship between social anxiety and personality: a comparison between Australia and Brazil -- 3. Predictors of performance fears x social fears in community and clinic samples -- 4. Personality as a moderator of cognitive-behavioural treatment outcome for social anxiety disorder -- 5. General discussion.


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication. "Thesis submitted to the Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of PhD of Psychology (Clinical). February 2013"

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Lorna Peters


Copyright Keila C. Brockveld 2013. Copyright disclaimer:




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