Bullies May Be Shy Types

FAIRFAX, Va., March 30 (UPI) — U.S. researchers suggest shy people who suffer social anxiety may aggressively act out as bullies — as children, bosses or romantic partners.

Psychologists Todd Kashdan and Patrick McKnight of George Mason University in Virginia say people suffering from social anxiety are often characterized as shy, inhibitive and submissive, but a subset of the socially anxious act out.

The study, published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, finds evidence a subset of adults diagnosed with social anxiety disorder are among those who tend toward violence, substance abuse and other risky behaviors.

“Parents and teachers might think their kid is a bully, acts out and is a behavior problem because they have a conduct disorder or anti-social tendencies,” Kashdan said in a statement.

“However, sometimes when we dive into the motive for their actions, we will find that they show extreme social anxiety and extreme fears of being judged. If social anxiety was the reason for their behavior, this would suggest an entirely different intervention.”

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