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Depress Anxiety. 2010 Dec;27(12):1117-27. doi: 10.1002/da.20759.

Cultural aspects in social anxiety and social anxiety disorder.

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  • 1epartment of Psychology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


To examine cultural aspects in social anxiety and social anxiety disorder (SAD), we reviewed the literature on the prevalence rates, expressions, and treatments of social anxiety/SAD as they relate to culture, race, and ethnicity. We further reviewed factors that contribute to the differences in social anxiety/SAD between different cultures, including individualism/collectivism, perception of social norms, self-construal, gender roles, and gender role identification. Our review suggests that the prevalence and expression of social anxiety/SAD depends on the particular culture. Asian cultures typically show the lowest rates, whereas Russian and US samples show the highest rates, of SAD. Taijin kyofusho is discussed as a possible culture-specific expression of social anxiety, although the empirical evidence concerning the validity of this syndrome has been mixed. It is concluded that the individual's social concerns need to be examined in the context of the person's cultural, racial, and ethnic background in order to adequately assess the degree and expression of social anxiety and SAD. This has direct relevance for the upcoming DSM-V.

© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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