Exploring the relevance of gender and age differences in the assessment of social fears in adolescence

Luis-Joaquin Garcia-Lopez1, Candido J. Ingles2, Jose M. Garcia-Fernandez3
1University of Granada, Spain
2Miguel Hernandez University, Spain
3University of Alicante, Spain
Cite this article:  Garcia-Lopez, L.-J., Ingles, C. J., & Garcia-Fernandez, J. M. (2008). Exploring the relevance of gender and age differences in the assessment of social fears in adolescence. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 36(3), 385-390.

Volume 36 Issue 3 | e1711 | Published: April 2008 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2008.36.3.385

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Although social phobia is one of the most common mental disorders in adolescents, information on the need for normative data is missing. For this reason, this cross-sectional study was aimed at determining if there is a need to have normative data according to age and gender in socially anxious adolescents. Furthermore, we analyzed whether or not boys and girls differ in the nature of their social fears. The study population comprised 2,543 Spanish-speaking adolescents randomly recruited from 10 schools. The results indicate that there is no need for different normative data based on age and gender. Moreover, our data also indicate that even though there are quantitative differences between boys and girls, i.e., girls report a higher percentage, a qualitative analysis revealed that boys and girls experience the same social fears and, therefore, the nature of the social-anxiety provoking situations is the same across gender. Implications for developmental theories and assessment are discussed as well.

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