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Longitudinal associations between social anxiety, depressive symptoms and peer victimization in adolescence: A prospective community study
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research. Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
3Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social work, Örebro, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Department of Psychology, Uppsala, Sweden.
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Self-reported social anxiety, depressive symptoms and peer victimization was investigated in 350 students in grade 7 and then in grade 8, 9 and 11. Using latent growth modeling, social anxiety was found to be stable over time and to have a time-invariant association with depressive symptoms. Further, social anxiety predicted subsequent depressive symptoms but not vice versa. Support was found for a meditational model. That is, peer victimization in grade 7 was related to higher level of social anxiety, which in turn was associated with more depressive symptoms in grade 8, 9 and 11. The development of social anxiety and depression symptomatology among adolescents can thus be described as one sequential longitudinal process initiated by peer victimization.

Keyword [en]
Social anxiety, adolescents, developmental course, depressive symptoms, peer victimization, latent growth modeling
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-57937OAI: diva2:329269
Available from: 2010-07-09 Created: 2010-07-09 Last updated: 2014-11-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Social Anxiety Disorder in Swedish Adolescents: Prevalence, Victimization & Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social Anxiety Disorder in Swedish Adolescents: Prevalence, Victimization & Development
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Human beings are social creatures. Accordingly, fear of social situations can be severely disabling. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by excessive fear of negative evaluation in social or performance situations. SAD has an early onset and often goes undetected an untreated. Descriptive studies on non‐clinical samples are required in order to find ways to prevent SAD and associated consequences. This thesis aimed at examining epidemiological variables of SAD in adolescence which is the critical period for onset of SAD. More exactly, issues of detection and prevalence, victimization and developmental course were addressed.

Data was collected in four different community samples, using cross‐sectional and longitudinal designs. In the first study (n=169), psychometric evaluation of a screening questionnaire for use with adolescents was conducted. The second study (n=2128) investigated prevalence of SAD in students in grade 6‐8 (age 12‐14 years). In the third study (n=3211), the association between SAD and victimization in high‐school students (aged 17) was investigated. Finally, in the fourth study (n=350), longitudinal associations between social anxiety and depressive symptoms were investigated, with 4 waves of data from grade 7 to grade 11.

Self‐reported SAD was found among 4.4% of students in grade 6‐8 and among 10.6% of high‐school students. Females reported SAD to a significantly higher degree than males in all age groups. Experiences of peer victimization, maltreatment and sexual victimization were significantly more common in those reporting SAD than in non‐cases. Social anxiety was stable over adolescence. Further, peer victimization in grade 7 predicted social anxiety that mediated subsequent depressive symptoms. In conclusion, self‐reported SAD is common in Swedish adolescents and especially in girls and older adolescents. Social anxiety is stable over adolescence and correlated with depressive symptoms over course. The high prevalence rates, stable course and mediation of depressive symptoms call for early detection and prevention of social anxiety. The relationship between victimization and SAD needs to be investigated further in controlled prospective studies on children and adolescents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2010. 78 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1185
Social anxiety disorder, adolescents, prevalence, victimization, peer victimization, developmental course
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-57938 (URN)978‐91‐7393‐388‐9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-05-21, Berzeliussalen, Universitetssjukhuset, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2010-07-09 Created: 2010-07-09 Last updated: 2010-07-09Bibliographically approved

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Green-Landell, MalinHesser, HugoSvedin, Carl GöranAndersson, Gerhard
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