Men who suffer from social anxiety are more likely to harm the person they're dating if they feel they're being judged by their partner, says a new study.

People who are awkward at social meetings are thought of as being shy, as someone who would run away and take the flight option when threatened. However, a new study suggests that social anxiety works differently in men and women.

The study was led by Michelle Hanby, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Angelo State University and Douglas Nangle, professor of psychology at the University of Maine, and included 361 college students between the ages of 18 and 23. All the participants reported that they had been in a romantic relationship in the past year. Researchers wanted to know if social anxiety predicted dating aggression. They classified aggression into to types; physical that included slapping, beating use of weapon etc and psychological that included slamming doors, verbal abuse, refusing to talk etc.

Researchers found that the level of physical or psychological dating aggression of these participants was a result of their fear of being negatively assessed and being in control seems to be a way to cope with the fear.

Men resort to violent acts because they feel they will be negatively judged - fear of negative evaluation (FNE) - by their romantic partners and eventually be rejected.

“The notion of control seems central to understanding why socially anxious men may be more likely to engage in psychological aggression with their dating partners than their female counterparts. Men who expect their partners to evaluate them negatively may also fear that their partners will ultimately reject them," researchers wrote in a statement.

Social Anxiety makes men aggressive and women emotionally inhibited

Researchers say that people who have social anxiety become conscious about how they'd be judged by others and especially their partners. Men cope with negative emotional feelings and the fear of being rejected by showing aggressive behavior while women cope with these issues by avoiding conflicts, researchers say.

The study is published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.