Social anxiety disorder in adolescents: Prevalence and subtypes in the Young-HUNT3 study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Anxiety Disorders. 2022, 87 . 10.1016/j.janxdis.2022.102546
Background Few studies have examined the prevalence of social anxiety disorder (SAD) among adolescents and the associated sex-specific fears. No previous studies have reported variance in SAD prevalence among adolescents based on a stepwise diagnostic approach. Methods Using various diagnostic thresholds from the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule child version, and the diagnostic criteria from both the 4th and 5th editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), we explored the point prevalence of SAD among a population-based sample of 8216 adolescents aged 13–19 years. Results Overall, 2.6% of adolescents met the SAD diagnostic criteria. The prevalence varied from 2.0% to 5.7% depending on the criteria-set. Twice as many females met the overall SAD criteria. The DSM-IV generalized SAD subtype was assigned to 86.5% of the sample, while 3.5% met the DSM-5 performance-only subtype. Compared with males aged 16–19 years, significantly more of those aged 13–15 years met the SAD criteria; no significant age group differences were found among females. Conclusions This is the first study to demonstrate variance in SAD prevalence among adolescents based on the diagnostic threshold method. Depending on the threshold applied, SAD prevalence among adolescents varied from 2.0% to 5.7%. Age and sex differences in social fear experiences highlight the importance of considering developmental heterogeneity in SAD, especially for adapting prevention and treatment interventions.