Social Phobia in Children Research Paper

Pages: 11 (3594 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

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[. . .] Social phobia is quite different from shyness as the people who are shy do not completely avoid the situations that make them uncomfortable, whereas, those suffering from social phobia have a tendency to completely avoid social encounters and keep themselves aloof. The children suffering from social phobia have a disrupted normal life as this disorder deteriorates their school and social relationships. (the Child Anxiety Network, 2013)

The children and adolescents suffering from social anxiety disorder confront a number of feared situations. These situations include crowds and parties; initiating a conversation or getting indulged in one; talking to a large audience; expressing opinions and points-of-view; making someone new; shaking hands with people; using public washrooms; shopping for stuff; talking to the seniors or higher authorities; being watched by others in various situations, such as eating, receiving a phone call etcetera and facing situations that put them on the spotlight. (Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria, 2013)

The common fears that emanate in the children suffering from social anxiety disorder as a result of the above mentioned situations include;

The apprehension that the other people, noticing them, will observe and identify the physical symptoms of anxiety that they confront such as, nervousness, sweating, blushing and stammering. (Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria, 2013)

The concern that all the acts executed by them will make them look stupid, silly, embarrassing or ridiculous. (Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria, 2013)

The fear that they will be thought of as quite, boring, arrogant and unattractive by others. (Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria, 2013)

The anxiety and stress that others will evaluate and judge them as incapable of tackling social situations or the belief that others will think of them as socially inadequate and inferior. (Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria, 2013)

Causes of Social Phobia

The major causes of social phobia have been identified as a combination of physical and environmental factors. These factors are discussed below;

Neurobiological Factors

According to the researches of 2002 there is some evidence that social phobia can be inherited. According to a study conducted in Yale a locus has been identified on the chromosome 3 of human beings. This locus was linked with agoraphobia. In addition to that, two other genetic loci on chromosome 1 and 11q were identified to be linked with panic disorder. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

As social phobia also shares some of the characteristics of the panic disorder, there is a probability that the genetic structure of an individual of may increase his or her susceptibility to social anxiety disorder. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

In addition to that, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) of the people suffering from social phobia indicated that there is an increase in the blood flow to amygdale, a region in the brain which is associated with fear responses, in these patients when they are asked to speak in public. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

It has been concluded by a number of researchers that the people suffering from social phobia have a distinctive neurochemical response in relation to various social situations which activates their limbic system rather their cerebral cortex, which is activated in people who are not suffering from social phobia as indicated by their Positron Emission Tomography (PET). (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

Temperament

It has been identified by a number of researches that the inborn temperament (natural predisposition) of the individuals acts as an important risk factor in relation to the development of a number of mood and anxiety disorders including social phobia. In addition to that, it has also been observed by the researchers that children who demonstrate behavioral inhibition at an early age are more likely to suffer from social phobia, especially if the inhibition sustains for a long period of time. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

Behavioral inhibition can be defined as a collection of behaviors that a child demonstrates when he is confronted with an unusual situations or unaccustomed people. (Advameg, Inc., 2013) These behaviors incorporate;

Crying, moving around, and irritability. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

Withdrawal from the unknown person and need for comfort and support from the familiar person. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

Demonstration of high degree of self-consciousness when an unfamiliar person is noticing the affected person. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

Moreover, researchers have also identified that the children of parents, who are depresses, anxious and stressed out, are more likely to demonstrate behavioral inhibition. One of the study related to the children with social phobia indicated that most of these children were observed to demonstrate behavioral inhibition in early childhood. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

Psychosocial Factors

Most of the researches indicate that the development of social phobia is heavily influenced by the nature of parent child interaction in the family of origin of the patient. The researchers have observed that the children with depressed parents, irrespective of the fact that whether this depression is related to any psychological or mood disaster, are more susceptible to social anxiety disorder. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

There is a great probability that children with depressed parents will acquire certain characteristics and attributes from their parents that make them more vulnerable to social phobia. A study related to children suffering from social phobia indicated that these children had a negative cognitive assessment of unfamiliar situations, in relation to both the dangerousness of the situation and their ability to tackle and handle the situation. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

The children suffering from social phobia tend to over embellish the difficulties, dangers, threats and uncertainties of the life and in contrast they also have the tendency to undermine their capabilities, intelligence, talent and abilities to handle these aspects of life. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

Another psychosocial factor related to the development of social anxiety disorder, in both children and adolescents, is disruptions and disintegrations in the social fabric of the developed countries after World War II. A number of social therapists, psychologists and researchers have identified that children are now more frequently exposed to the aggressive behavior and stinging and biting language, in both real life and through media depictions as well. In addition to that, in the present are the children also identify the unpleasant and aggressive social realities at a very early age. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

The elevated rates of both social phobia and school refusal among adolescent girls have been related with higher levels of harshness and teasing from boys in junior high and high school. According a study conducted by the American Association of University Women, about 70% of the girls confront verbal sexual harassment in high school and 50% of the girls experience unwanted sexual touching. Although, such elements of the large societies might not directly cause social phobia but they are important indirect influences in relation to this order. (Advameg, Inc., 2013)

Symptoms of Social Phobia

The social anxiety disorder was first mentioned in 400 B.C by Hippocrates, who indicated this disease while talking about a man, 'loves darkness as life and...thinks every man observes him.' (University of Pennsylvania, 2013) the tendency of the patients of social phobia to overestimate the degree to which others observe him is the key characteristic of this disease. (University of Pennsylvania, 2013)

The people suffering from social anxiety disorder generally confront the following symptoms;

Intensified and persistent fear of being observed, humiliated and criticized by others. This fear leads toward avoidance of social situations and elevated levels of self-consciousness as well. (University of Pennsylvania, 2013)

Excessive levels o anxiety while confronting or experiencing a feared situation. These situations can range from simple eating and hand shaking activities to public speaking. (University of Pennsylvania, 2013)

Realization of the fact that the excessive fear and anxiety is unreasonable. This realization, however, is not sufficient to enable the individual to overcome his anxiety and fear. (University of Pennsylvania, 2013)

Physical anxiety symptoms, such as blushing, sweating, nausea, difficulty in talking and additional symptoms in relation to panic attacks are commonly observed in the patients of social anxiety disorder. (University of Pennsylvania, 2013)

Impacts of Social Phobia on Children

Social anxiety can hinder the educational success of the children and the adolescents. In addition to that, the children and adolescence suffering from this disorder cannot acquire the necessary skills required for the transition from adolescence to adulthood. The patients of this disease miss out the most important social events of their life and hence they suffer from other psychological disorders, such as depression and substance abuse, as well. (Rosentha and Jacobs et al., 2007)

A study conducted by the Epidemiological Catchment Area, as quoted in the research of, indicated that alcohol abuse was observed and reported among about seventeen percent of the total patients of the total social phobia cases, whereas, drug abuse was reported in thirteen percent of these cases. (Rosentha and Jacobs et al., 2007)

Moreover, a study conducted by Kessler et al., as quoted in the research of, identified that 8.8% of the individuals suffering from substance abuse are all also the patients of social anxiety disorder. The issue of substance abuse arises very slowly and is adapted by a number of social phobia patients as an… [END OF PREVIEW]

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