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J Anxiety Disord. 2017 Dec;52:72-78. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2017.10.005. Epub 2017 Oct 18.

Still lonely: Social adjustment of youth with and without social anxiety disorder following cognitive behavioral therapy.

Author information

1
University of Georgia, 125 Baldwin St, Athens, GA, 30602, United States. Electronic address: csuveg@uga.edu.
2
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Gulick Hall, Geneva, NY 14456, United States. Electronic address: Kingery@hws.edu.
3
University of Georgia, 125 Baldwin St, Athens, GA, 30602, United States. Electronic address: mfdavis@uga.edu.
4
University of Georgia, 125 Baldwin St, Athens, GA, 30602, United States. Electronic address: anna@uga.edu.
5
University of Georgia, 125 Baldwin St, Athens, GA, 30602, United States. Electronic address: mrkarsai@uga.edu.
6
1200 N. Federal Highway, Suite 200, Boca Raton, FL 33432, United States. Electronic address: drmarnijacob@gmail.com.

Abstract

Social experiences are an integral part of normative development for youth and social functioning difficulties are related to poor outcomes. Youth with anxiety disorders, and particularly social anxiety disorder, experience difficulties across many aspects of social functioning that may place them at risk for maladjustment. The goal of this paper was to compare social experiences of youth across anxiety diagnoses and examine whether treatment is helpful in improving social functioning. Ninety-two children (age 7-12 years; 58% male; 87.0% White) with a primary diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and/or social anxiety disorder participated in cognitive behavioral therapy. At both pre- and post-treatment, children with social anxiety disorder self-reported greater loneliness than youth without social anxiety disorder, though levels of peer victimization and receipt of prosocial behavior were similar across groups. Parents reported greater social problems for youth with social anxiety disorder compared to those without social anxiety disorder. All youth experienced improved social functioning following treatment per child- and parent-reports. The results call for an increased focus on the social experiences of youth with anxiety disorders, and particularly loneliness, for children with social anxiety disorder. The results document ways that evidenced-based practice can improve social functioning for youth with anxiety disorders.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Social anxiety disorder; Social functioning

PMID:
29069628
DOI:
10.1016/j.janxdis.2017.10.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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