Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 749–761 | Cite as

Social Anxiety and Positive Outcome Expectancies on Risk-Taking Behaviors

  • Todd B. Kashdan
  • R. Lorraine Collins
  • Jon D. Elhai
Original Article


We examined the hypothesis that under specific conditions, socially anxious individuals may be risk-prone as opposed to risk-averse in domains such as heavy drinking, illicit drug use, unsafe sexual practices, and aggression. A college-aged sample, predominantly women, completed a series of questionnaires on social anxiety and risk-taking behavioral intentions. Results of hierarchical regression analyses indicated that positive outcome expectancies moderated relationships between social anxiety and sexual risk-taking and aggression. Socially anxious individuals expecting desirable outcomes reported the greatest risk-taking behavioral intentions. Socially anxious individuals expecting less desirable outcomes reported the least risk-taking intentions. Social anxiety interaction effects were not accounted for by other anxiety and depressive symptoms. Data suggested that social anxiety was also positively related to illicit drug use. Although preliminary, these significant findings suggest that a subset of socially anxious individuals may engage in risky activities that likely serve the purpose of regulating emotions.


Social anxiety Risk taking Outcome expectancies Unsafe sex Aggression 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Todd B. Kashdan
    • 1
  • R. Lorraine Collins
    • 2
  • Jon D. Elhai
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGeorge Mason University, MS 3F5FairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Research Institute on AddictionsUniversity at BuffaloBuffaloUSA
  3. 3.Disaster Health InstituteThe University of South DakotaVermillionUSA

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