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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010 Dec;19(12):857-71. doi: 10.1007/s00787-010-0138-0. Epub 2010 Oct 6.

Familial risk factors in social anxiety disorder: calling for a family-oriented approach for targeted prevention and early intervention.

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Institute of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Technische Universitaet Dresden, Chemnitzer Str. 46, 01187 Dresden, Germany.


Within the last decade, social anxiety disorder (SAD) has been identified as a highly prevalent and burdensome disorder. Both the characterization of its symptomatology and effective treatment options are widely documented. Studies particularly indicate that SAD aggregates in families and has its onset in early adolescence. Given the family as an important context for children's cognitive, emotional and behavioural development, familial risk factors could be expected to significantly contribute to the reliable detection of populations at risk for SAD. Reviewing studies on familial risk factors for SAD argues for the importance of parental psychopathology and unfavourable family environment, but also denotes to several shortcomings such as cross-sectional designs, short follow-up periods, diverging methodologies and the focus on isolated factors. Using a prospective longitudinal study that covers the high-risk period for SAD, including a broader spectrum of putative risk factors may help to overcome many of the methodological limitations. This review sets out to develop a more family-oriented approach for predicting the onset and maintenance of SAD that may be fruitful to derive targeted prevention and early intervention in SAD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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