Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, 44:1

Social phobia in Swedish adolescents

Prevalence and gender differences
  • Malin Gren-Landell
  • Maria Tillfors
  • Tomas Furmark
  • Gunilla Bohlin
  • Gerhard Andersson
  • Carl Göran Svedin
ORIGINAL PAPER

DOI: 10.1007/s00127-008-0400-7

Cite this article as:
Gren-Landell, M., Tillfors, M., Furmark, T. et al. Soc Psychiat Epidemiol (2009) 44: 1. doi:10.1007/s00127-008-0400-7

Abstract

Background

The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of self-reported social phobia in a community sample of Swedish adolescents in junior high school, at the risk-period for developing social phobia. Of particular interest was to investigate gender differences in prevalence across ages. Prevalence of sub-threshold social phobia was also studied.

Methods

Students in grades 6–8 (aged 12–14) from seventeen schools in five Swedish municipalities were screened by means of a self-report questionnaire, the social phobia screening questionnaire-for children (SPSQ-C).

Results

Data from a sample of 2,128 students were analysed and showed a point-prevalence rate of 4.4% (95%CI 3.5–5.2) and a significant gender difference (6.6% girls vs. 1.8% boys, P < 0.001). No significant differences in prevalence of probable cases emerged across the ages. At sub-threshold level, marked social fear of at least one social situation was reported by 13.8% of the total group. “Speaking in front of class” and “calling someone unfamiliar on the phone” were the most feared social situations. In the social phobia group, 91.4% reported impairment in the school-domain due to their social fear.

Conclusion

Social phobia is a common psychiatric condition in Swedish adolescents, especially in girls. As impairment in the school-domain is reported to a high degree, professionals and teachers need to recognize social phobia in adolescents so that help in overcoming the difficulties can be offered.

Keywords

prevalencesocial phobiaadolescentsgender

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malin Gren-Landell
    • 1
  • Maria Tillfors
    • 2
  • Tomas Furmark
    • 3
  • Gunilla Bohlin
    • 3
  • Gerhard Andersson
    • 4
    • 5
  • Carl Göran Svedin
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Dept. of Behavioural, Social and Legal SciencesÖrebro UniversityÖrebroSweden
  3. 3.Dept. of PsychologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  4. 4.Dept. of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, The Swedish Institute for Disability ResearchLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  5. 5.Dept. of Clinical NeuroscienceKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden