Monday, September 22, 2008

Social phobia in childhood

A large body of research in adults indicates that social phobia is linked to social, educational and occupational functional impairment as well as depression, drug abuse and suicide attempts. Among children and adolescents estimates of the rate of social phobia range from 0.3% to 5.4%. However, only a small number of studies have looked at the characteristics of social phobia in children and this research has been limited to clinical samples. A U.S. study of 101 children compared 45 children with social phobia to 56 children who were anxious but who did not have social phobia. The children with social phobia feared and avoided a significantly greater number of social situations. They were more likely to have trouble making friends and to prefer being alone to being with other children. All the children with social phobia also met the criteria for at least one other mental-health problem. Greater severity of social phobia was significantly associated with poorer social skills, poorer leadership skills, greater attention difficulties and greater learning problems in the classroom.

Bernstein, Gail A. ... [et al] - Symptom presentation and classroom functioning in a nonclinical sample of children with social phobia Depression and Anxiety 65(9), 752-760

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