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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


ZUBEIDAT, Ihab; FERNANDEZ PARRA, Antonio; SIERRA, Juan Carlos  y  SALINAS, José María. Assessment of factors associated to social anxiety and other psychopatologies in adolescents. Salud Ment [online]. 2008, vol.31, n.3, pp.189-196. ISSN 0185-3325.

Introduction The study of factors associated with anxiety and social phobia is a subject of recent interest in mental health. Specifically, shyness in children seems to act as an early expression of social phobia that may later consolidate into a clinical entity. The presence of certain psychopathologies and particular styles of child rearing in parents, are perceived by their children, are associated with the emergence of social phobia in adolescence. On the other hand, social anxiety disorder during adolescence or early adulthood may predict subsequent depressive disorders. The presence of both disorders (anxiety and social phobia) during adolescence increases the probability of suffering from them recurrently in early adulthood. Family structure and cohesion as well as stressful life events have been found to be associated with mood disorders during the childhood-youth period. However, studies conducted with young subjects are scarce, even though understanding the factors associated to different psychopathologies in the youth has proven of great value in clinical practice and epidemiology. For this reason, we attempt to evaluate, in a sample of three groups of adolescents (social anxiety, other psychopathologies and without psychopathologies) the possible demographical factors, competences and clinical indexes that could be associated with the different conditions under consideration. Methodology A sample of 1012 adolescents (582 women and 430 men) with an average age of 15.80 years (SD = 1.48) fulfilled a series of tests to assess demographical variables, psychosocial competences and clinical indexes. Results The difference between the average scores in the Escala de Ansiedad en Interacción Social -SIAS- was significant for the variables sex and the school year. Sex and couple relationships significantly affect the probability of manifesting social anxiety and other psychopathologies, respectively. Some competences significantly affect the probability of social anxiety, whereas others affect the probability of developing other psychopathologies. The majority of the 46 clinical indexes assessed demonstrate a significant effect on the probability of developing both conditions. Discussion and conclusions The results indicate that, in line with previous studies, the average score of women in the SIAS is slightly higher than in men. The average score in the SIAS of the young people from formative cycles was slightly higher than in the subjects from the obligatory secondary education and high schools. Very few studies have informed on the differences in social anxiety associated with the educational level. Women presented significantly higher probability of suffering from social anxiety than men. Unexpectedly, adolescents who maintained couple relationships also showed significantly higher probabilities than the rest of suffering from other psychopathologies. Some psychosocial competences, especially those related to the situations of social interactions, have a significant effect on the probability of developing social anxiety, whereas others (social and behavioural) influence other psychopathologies. In general and to a large extent, the findings are coherent and explainable, although some of them are contradictory. This could be caused by the difficulty to evaluate the complex construct of psychosocial competences. The majority of the evaluated clinical indexes showed a significant effect on the probability of developing of social anxiety and other psychopathologies. This effect is more evident in the group of young people with other psychopathologies than in the group of adolescents with social anxiety. Previous studies have found similar results, especially in the indexes referring to the general measures of anxiety and depression, specific measures of anxiety and avoidance of social situations and personality.

Palabras llave : Social anxiety; social phobia; psychopathologies; association; adolescents; clinical indexes.

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