A study recently published in "Current Directions in Psychological Science" contradicts what many might expect when it comes to the actions of those with social anxiety disorder (SAD).
Psychologists Todd Kashdan and Patrick McKnight identified a subset of those with SAD who are prone to agressive and risky behaviors such as violence, substance abuse and unprotected sex. These behaviors are a far cry from the subdued and submissive character usually associated with SAD.
Kashdan and McKnight point out that this group may be easily misunderstood, and that this can have repercussions in terms of treatment. A bully who acts out due to anger issues requires different care than one whose behavior is a result of social anxiety. They further explain that this subgroup can be trained to inhibit impulsive urges and better regulate emotions.
Reading about this study brought one person quickly to my mind. Seung-Hui Cho; also known as the Virginia Tech Shooter. Cho suffered with selective mutism and gradually isolated himself into a "cult of one".
What do you think? Could violent and risky behaviors result from social anxiety alone, or is there something else at play?
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