Does defensive pessimism help anxious people to communicate with strangers? Defensive pessimism and state anxiety interact to predict the behavioral intention for smooth communication

[Speaker] Shimizu, Haruka:1
[Co-author] Nakashima, Ken'ichiro:1, Morinaga, Yasuko:1
1:Hiroshima University (Japan)

Previous research has suggested that defensive pessimism is an effective cognitive strategy for use by people with high anxiety in task-relevant situations. However, there are few studies investigating the effects of this strategy for people who feel high anxiety in interpersonal communication contexts. Participants (N = 202) completed scales assessing their tendency toward defensive pessimism, as well as other personality variables, such as trait shyness and trait self-esteem. Next, participants read and imagined themselves in a scenario in which they conversed with strangers. Then, they responded to questionnaires assessing how they would feel and act in the situation. Results indicated that among those with a high tendency toward defensive pessimism, people with high, vs. low, anxiety had higher intentions to consider and respect others' reactions and opinions. The interaction of defensive pessimism and state anxiety for behavioral intention was discussed.
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