Danica Delos Santos
Karl Nicolson Iluzada
Mr. Ricardo Paig
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a debilitating and chronic illness characterized by persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations, with a relatively high lifetime prevalence of 7% to 13% in the general population. Although the last two decades have witnessed enormous growth in the study of biological and dispositional factors underlying SAD, comparatively little attention has been directed towards environmental factors in SAD, even though there has been much ongoing work in the area. In this paper, we provide a recent review and critique of proposed environmental risk factors for SAD, focusing on traditional as well as some understudied and overlooked environmental risk factors: parenting and family environment, adverse life events, cultural and societal factors, and gender roles. We also discuss the need for research design improvements and considerations for future directions.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD), once called social phobia, is the most common anxiety disorder that continues to be under-diagnosed. SAD is characterised by a marked, persistent fear and/or avoidance of one or more social situations. The individual is fearful of being exposed to unfamiliar people and/or to possible scrutiny by others. On exposure to the feared situation, intense anxiety or panic attacks may occur, events that for some are perceived as humiliating or embarrassing. Those with SAD seek to be perfect. In the feared situation, they dislike being observed always believing that others are evaluating them unfavourably. While avoidance of the feared situation is the norm, some penetrate the feared situation experiencing anxiety or a panic attack. For the diagnosis of SAD, sufferers must recognise their fear is excessive and unreasonable, and that the condition significantly impairs life. Anticipatory anxiety is a striking feature of SAD. This anxiety occurs prior to entering the feared situation, often surfacing well in advance of the upcoming social event. For some, this anxiety is often as distressing as the anxiety and panic that may occur while in the situation. Underlying this anxiety are fearful thoughts that one’s performance will not be perfect and an unfavourable evaluation will occur. Often those with SAD, following entry into the feared situation, will undertake a post mortem analysis commonly evaluating their performance unfavourably. To understand Social Anxiety, anxiety itself has to be understood. Anxiety can be an emotional discomfort, a fear, apprehension or a worry that a person has developed.Social anxiety is the the worry of social situations and interactions, along with the fear of being judged or scrutinized by others. This can be characterized by an intense, ego-driven fear of what others are thinking about them (specifically fear of embarrassment, criticism, rejection), that leads to the individual feeling insecure, and not good enough for the people around them. The results of this can create an intense fear and anxiety in social situations, and the assumption that peers will automatically reject them in those social situations. The difference between social anxiety and normal apprehension of social situations is that social anxiety involves an intense feeling of fear in social situations and especially situations that are unfamiliar or in which one will be watched or evaluated by others. The feeling of fear is so great that in these types of situations one may be so worried that he or she feels anxious just thinking about them and will go to great lengths to avoid them. It occurs for different reasons. Developmental social anxiety occurs early in childhood as...