Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 49, Issue 12, pp 1937–1949 | Cite as

Self-reported social anxiety symptoms and correlates in a clinical (CAP) and a community (Young-HUNT) adolescent sample

  • Ingunn Ranøyen
  • Thomas Jozefiak
  • Jan Wallander
  • Stian Lydersen
  • Marit S. Indredavik
Original Paper



The frequencies of social anxiety symptoms in a mental health clinical and a community sample of adolescents are compared. Also, we explore if adolescents can be classified in subgroups based on social anxiety symptoms. Associations between social anxiety symptoms and coexisting problems and sociodemographic characteristics are examined.


Adolescent participants, aged 13–18, in two large Norwegian studies, consisting of a clinical (n = 694, 42.1 % participation rate, 55 % girls, mean age = 15.6) and a community (n = 7,694, 73.1 % participation rate, 51 % girls, mean age = 15.8) sample completed identical self-report questionnaires measuring social anxiety and related variables.


Median sum scores (interquartile range) of social anxiety symptoms were higher among girls than boys and in the clinical [girls = 16 (12–22); boys = 12 (9–16)] compared to the community sample [girls = 12 (9–15); boys = 10 (7–12)] (p < 0.001). Latent profile analysis revealed two classes of adolescents based on social anxiety profiles. Adolescents scoring high on social anxiety symptoms, which ranged from 16 % (boys in community sample) to 40 % (girls in clinical sample), had significantly more coexisting problems than those scoring low. Social anxiety symptoms were associated with academic school problems, bullying, eating problems, acne, and general anxiety and depression in both samples.


Social anxiety symptoms were commonly reported by adolescents, in both clinical and community settings. These symptoms were associated with a broad spectrum of coexisting problems, which can be used to detect adolescents struggling with social anxiety. Adolescent, family, peer, school, and community interventions targeting these associated problems may contribute to prevent and alleviate social anxiety symptoms.


Social anxiety Symptoms Adolescent psychopathology Latent profile analysis 



The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study


The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study part for adolescents ages 13 through 19


Child and adolescent psychiatry


Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory for Children


Symptom Check List


International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision


Latent profile analysis


Multiple imputation


Root mean square error of approximation


Bayesian information criterion


Composite reliability


Interquartile range


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingunn Ranøyen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas Jozefiak
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan Wallander
    • 3
  • Stian Lydersen
    • 1
  • Marit S. Indredavik
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare (RKBU Central Norway)Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatrySt. Olavs HospitalTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Psychological Sciences and Health Sciences Research InstituteUniversity of California, MercedMercedUSA

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