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Running head: SOCIAL ANXIETY 1

The Manifestation of Social Anxiety

Cassie Thomsen

Salt Lake Community College


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The Manifestation of Social Anxiety

More people today are showing signs of social anxiety than ever before. Millions of

people deal with this problem on a daily basis. This is a huge problem, it prevents people from

doing so much in today’s society. Not only can it make the easiest tasks feel like the hardest, but

it can also make being alone feel easier and more comfortable than seeing anyone else. The best

way to do something about it is to know what signs to look for in the first place in order to do

something about it. This paper will explore social anxiety, recognizing that it’s there, effects that

come from it, and treatments to assist people with reducing social anxiety.

First, I would like to take some explore what research shows on recognizing social

anxiety. This topic will include social anxiety and avoidance personality disorder, as well as the

effect of phobias over time. It is very important to know what a person is dealing with so it can

be prevented, dealt with in a healthy matter, or to lessen the effects of the problem within a

person.

Social anxiety is described as “the unpleasant emotion we experience due to our concern

with interpersonal evaluation and the loss of social status (Franzoi, 2016).” Franzoi goes on to

talk about how when we are socially evaluating (ourselves to others), we can feel a sense of

loneliness, and we can also go to a trusted, close friend in order to seek help when in a situation

when one is feeling socially anxious.

A study looking at the correlation between people whom have social anxiety disorder

(SAD), people with healthy social interactions, as well as between people who have avoidant

personality disorder (APD and generalized anxiety disorder (SAD) in relation to being laughed

at. According to Havranek, Volkart, Bolliger, Roos, Buchner, Mansour, Chmielewski, Gaudllitz,
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Hättenschwiler, Seifritz, and Ruch (2017), “Social anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety

disorder, and a high of a risk factor for depression or substance abuse”. Not only may a person

with SAD feel like they are being eyed by other people, or judged by them, they may also lack

growth in some areas of their life (more particularly, when they are out trying to connect with

others), and without the right treatment, it can continue to get worse throughout one’s lifetime.

“The fear of being laughed at is also known as gelotophobia.” In this correlation, Havranek, et

al., found that the increase in gelotophobia, also linearly increased the amount of anxiety the

participant had during this correlational study. This was measured by a survey immediately after

being laughed at (it measured how anxious they were feeling). People with Social Anxiety

Disorder had a higher gelotophobia than those of healthy mental health (second to SAD WAS

APD). So, since the statistics were so high for this correlational study, this may be a good

indicator that a person has SAD or APD (though having gelotophobia doesn’t necessarily mean

that one has SAD).

This study was done to try to figure out if there’s a difference between social anxiety

disorders and certain phobias (Rudaz, Ledermann, Margraf, Becker, and Craske, 2017). “Social

anxiety disorder has been as high as 10.7 and 15.6 percent in the U.S. alone.” Since in so many

cases people have been known to have fears and trauma be linked to anxiety disorders, they want

to find out if having a specific phobia would be a contributor to a social anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is the arousal of vital organs, so it can be measured with by heart rate and blood

pressure. “General anxiety was measured using the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI)” (Rudaz,

Ledermann, Margraf, Becker, and Craske, 2017). This was measured and compared to Social

Anxiety and with a person’s specific fears (if diagnosed). They talk about how phobias may arise

through a conditioned response (something traumatic happens, to pair fear with that thing,
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creating a new response to whatever happened – in this case, fear and anxiety).They found that

“high avoidance behavior was found to amplify the effect between general anxiety at baseline

and follow-up in specific phobia.” Though this study was only conducted on women in early

adulthood, so they were wanting to expand the age limits on future studies. So, in these studies

they were more focused on fears than anything else, but they also give a pretty good image to

what social anxiety can be.

Next, I would like to explore the effects that social anxiety has on a person. I would like

to look at social anxiety and stuttering, self-esteem and social anxiety within the adolescent, and

feeling lonely, the social skills, and fitting in when it comes to social anxiety disorder.

Stuttering, for example is another way to possibly detect social anxiety, but not only can

it show one has it, it can also effect a person greatly in their own personal lives. In this study

conducted by Iverach, Rapee, Wong and Lowe (2017), they took people who stutter and

performed similar tests in order to see if stuttering increases (related to social fears). Though

stuttering may not come from social anxiety, in those cases that do, “clinical practice may be

available to assist in speech (for those who stutter with social anxiety (Iverach, et al.).” This

could help by implementing therapy to their everyday life in order to calm the social anxiety,

lessening the stuttering. Since communication is so vital in our everyday lives, stuttering can

make it even harder to get through the things that we need to get through every day, making it

hard to fit in, and getting their points across efficiently and effectively. Not only this, but many

people who stutter have to take specific time out of their day in order work on how to say words.

So it’s not only a social challenge, it’s also taking their personal time away too.

Self-esteem was in question when it comes to social anxiety in adolescence. What was

measured in this study, conducted by Seema and Venkatesh (2017), was difference among
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genders, and how self-esteem had anything to do with social anxiety. “Self-esteem refers to

global self-evaluation also taken as self-worth or self-image (Seema and Venkatesh, 2017).”

They measured with the Rosenberg’s Self-esteem Scale. What they found was, males and

females (100 males, and 100 females) were studied and they found that there wasn’t a difference

in self-esteem between these two groups. “This research indicates the negative correlation

between self-esteem and social anxiety. If the self-esteem is low then social anxiety will be high

and high self-esteem will lead toward low social anxiety. So, if one’s self-esteem is quite low

then they have a higher chance to social anxiety. Again, this effects every single day of our lives

and how we interact with others, and how we interact with ourselves as well.

Now, I would like to explore treatments that could help lessen or prevent the effects of

socialized anxiety on a person, including group reality therapy, and psychodynamic therapies.

A study on group reality therapy for people with social anxiety was done by Khaleghi,

Amiri, and Taheri E (2017), studying adolescents. They studied the difference on 9th grade

females, these are all women who have social anxiety, and gave half of them treatment, and the

other half no treatment to see if the therapy would make any difference. “Socialization is a

process in which current social norms, skill ls, motivations, attitudes and behaviors are shaped to

the current and future role in society becomes appropriate (Khaleghi, Amiri, and Taheri E,

2017)”. A social anxiety scale for adolescents was used to measure the social anxiety within

these teenagers. At the same time “Negative connotation social events questionnaire was used to

measure interpretation bias (Khaleghi, et al.)” this puts these participants at a more level playing

field. They found that the group therapy was an effective factor for social anxiety, and could be

used widely to assist the coping with social anxiety in teenagers.


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Short Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy was studied in this trial by Wiltink, Ruckes,

Hoyer, Leichsenring, Joraschky, Leweke, Pöhlmann and Beute (2017). This Short Term

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (STPP) is being compared to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy of

social anxiety disorder. 75 patients finished the trials (out of 109) of Short Term Psychodynamic

Psychotherapy. With STPP, hopes to lessen the “treatment duration” were in place. “Treatment

to completion of follow up was from April 26, 2011, to June 9, 2015 (Wiltink, et al.).” Around

49 therapists were involved in this study (who were randomly assigned to patients). Out of the 75

people who completed the trials, only 32 finished the entirety of the experiment (follow up and

all). They found that longer sessions should be more beneficial to people with personality

disorders. So, though it may take some time to get the assistance that would be required to help

people with social anxiety, but it will allow for a more normalized lifestyle. Fears won’t be as

bothersome out in the world, and social anxiety would go down in people, increasing

communication with people with social anxiety.

In this paper we explored detection, effects, and treatments of social anxiety. Social

anxiety is everywhere, and is becoming an increasingly worse problem among people. It shows

up in many different forms, and in such a wide variety of people, that it’s a great thing to

continue to explore where it comes from as well as how it can be reduced. Many of us today

would have a much harder time getting everyday tasks done if it weren’t for the studies that we

have done in hopes to lessen social anxiety. This increases the productivity and lessens anxiety in

people with socialized anxiety. I would like to further explore social anxiety, and how it stems

from generalized anxiety and comes to be in adolescents in another paper at a later time.
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References

Franzoni, S. (2016). Social Psychology. PVT Publishing, LLC. 403-412.

Havranek, M., Volkart, F., Bolliger, B., Roos, S., Buschner, M., Mansour, R., Chmielewski, T.,

Gaudlitz, K., Hättenschwiler, J., Seifritz, E., Ruch, W. (2017). The fear of being laughed

at as additional diagnostic criterion in social anxiety disorder and avoidant personality

disorder? PLoS ONE, 12.(11), 1-11.

Iverach, L., Rapee, R., Wong, Q., Lowe, R. (2017). Maintenance of social anxiety in stuttering: a

cognitive-behavioral model. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology,26 (2),

540-556.

Khaelghi, N., Amiri, M., Taheri, E. (2017). Effectiveness of group reality therapy on symptoms

of social anxiety, interpretation bias and interpersonal relationships in adolescents.

Journal of Fundamentals of Mental Health, 19.(2), 77-83.

Rudaz, M., Ledermann, T., Margraf, J., Becker, E., Craske, M. (2017). The moderating role of

avoidance behavior on anxiety over time: Is there a difference between social anxiety

disorder and specific phobia? PLoS One, 12.(7), 1-14.

Seema, G., Venkatesh, K. (2017). Self-esteem and social anxiety in adolescent students. Indian

Journal of Positive Psychology, 8.(3), 435-439.

Wiltink, J., Ruckes, C., Hoyer, J., Lieschenring, F., Joraschky, P., Leweke, F., Pöhlmann, K.,

Beute, M. (2017). Transfer of manualized Short Term Psychotherapy (STPP) for social

anxiety disorder into clinical practice: Results from a cluster-randomized controlled trial.

BMC Psychiatry 17, 1-11.