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Development and Psychopathology

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Special Issue 4

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Abstract/ Summary

A developmental-evolutionary perspective is used to synthesize basic research from the neurosciences, ethology, genetics, and developmental psychology into a unified framework for understanding the nature and origins of social anxiety and avoidant personality disorder. Evidence is presented that social anxiety disorder (social phobia) and avoidant personality disorder may be alternate conceptualizations of the same disorder because they have virtually the same symptoms and genetic basis, and respond to the same pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic interventions. A functionalist perspective on social anxiety is formulated to (a) explain the origins of normative states of anxiety, (b) outline developmental pathways in the transition from normative anxiety to social anxiety and avoidant personality disorders, and (c) account for the processes leading to gender-differentiated patterns of anxiety-related disorders after puberty.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Lafreniere, P. (2009). A Functionalist Perspective on Social Anxiety and Avoidant Personality Disorder. Development and Psychopathology, 21, 1065-1082. Available on publisher's site at

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Copyright 2009 Cambridge University Press




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