Social anxiety, depression and close relationship: Intra and inter-personal perceptions of social-rank and affiliation

Reut Zabag, Eran Bar-Kalifa, M. O.R. Nilly, Eva Gilboa-Schechtman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The present study investigated the associations between social anxiety (SA) and depression on the one hand, and intra- and interpersonal perceptions within a friendship relationship on the other. Evolutionary theories suggest that SA is associated with impairment in the social-rank system. Recent studies suggest that depression is associated with impairment in the affiliation system. We examined whether these impairments are manifested in the positivity and accuracy of (a) self-perception; (b) meta-perception (beliefs about how the other perceives the self); and (c) other-perception (evaluations of the friend). Pairs of same-sex friends (n = 50) completed rankings pertaining to these perceptions on general, social-rank, and affiliation traits. Higher levels of SA were associated with lower self-perception positivity, lower meta-perception positivity, and lower accuracy in the social-rank domain. Moreover, higher levels of SA were associated with perceiving the friend as higher on social-rank, regardless of the friend's self-rated traits. Higher levels of depression were associated with lower affiliation and social-rank self-perception positivity, and with lower accuracy in the domain of affiliation. Our findings broaden current conceptualizations of SA and depression and highlight the importance of understanding these disorders through the lens of interpersonal relationships.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)582-606
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation, 750-15 awarded to Eva Gilboa-Schechtman. Address correspondence to Eva Gilboa-Schechtman, Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, 5290002, Israel; E-mail:

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Guilford Publications, Inc.


  • Accuracy
  • Affiliation
  • Depression
  • Social anxiety
  • Social-rank


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