Self-reported social anxiety symptoms and correlates in a clinical (CAP) and a community (Young-HUNT) adolescent sample
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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.
KeywordsSocial 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
Root mean square error of approximation
Bayesian information criterion
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