Academic journal article Education

Social Anxiety in Relation to Social Skills, Aggression, and Stress among Male and Female Commercial Institute Students

Academic journal article Education

Social Anxiety in Relation to Social Skills, Aggression, and Stress among Male and Female Commercial Institute Students

Article excerpt


According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) (1994) social anxiety is a marked and persistent fear of one or more social and performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. Usually the individual fears that he or she will be humiliated or embarrassed. When avoidance of a social situation is not possible, the exposure to the social situation provokes anxiety, sometimes to the intensity required to induce a panic attack. The manifestation of these symptoms interferes significantly with the daily living of the individual, bringing disruption of both social and professional life. These symptoms are described as being specific for adults, teenagers and children, with the specification that children usually may not experience the self reflexive aspects of this mental disorder. In other words, children might not be aware that the fear is excessive or unreasonable (Geangu & Reid, 2006).

Social anxiety disorder is characterized by an extreme fear of social or performance situations. Individuals with social anxiety disorder fear that they will do or say something humiliating or embarrassing in such situations (or that they will look visibly anxious), resulting in negative evaluation by others (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Frequently feared situations include public speaking, going to parties, meeting strangers and talking to people in authority (Holt, Heimberg, Hope, & Liebowitz, 1992). Social anxiety is defined as anxiety that results from the prospect or presence of personal evaluation in real or imagined social situations (Schlenker & Leary, 1982). Previous research asserted that interpersonal interactions for college students are stressful (Santiago, Gard, & Bernstein, 1999).

Schlenker and Leary (1982) described social anxiety as the fear of negative evaluation in social situations. It appears that the incidence of social anxiety is high (Meijers, 1978), even at a very young age, and leads to a negative self-image (Olweus, 1993). A recent study (Rutter, 2002) demonstrated that socially anxious pupils (aged 11) suffered from a lower self-esteem and higher depression than their.

According to Clark's model (Clark & Wells, 1995; Clark, 2001), social anxiety and phobia in adults is maintained through a vicious cycle. Throughout ontogeny, the individual seems to acquire a set of dysfunctional assumptions about the significance of social situations. These include: excessively high personal standards for their social performance; conditional beliefs concerning the consequences of performing in a certain way; and unconditional negative beliefs about the self. The approach of a relevant social situation activates these assumptions. This leads to a perceived social danger, the prediction of personal failure and to the fallacious interpretation of benign or ambiguous social stimuli as signs of negative evaluation by others. This leads to increased levels of anxiety and the processing of the self as a social object involving both reduced processing of social cues and negatively biased processing of the external social situation.

Social anxiety is the third most common psychiatric disorder, with 13% of the general population experiencing some symptoms at some point throughout the lifespan (Kashdan & Herbert, 2001). Even though the onset of the disorder was considered to be during mid-adolescence or no earlier than the age of eight (Beidel, Turner, & Morris, 2000), different symptoms have been reported in children as young as 2.5 years, when social phobia is identified as a distinct disorder in the broader family of anxiety disorders (Spence, Rapee, McDonald, &2001). The recognition of social phobia as being specific for very young children has motivated a series of research studies aimed at identifying those symptoms specific for these young ages, as well as their ontogenetic trajectory. …

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