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J Anxiety Disord. 1997 Mar-Apr;11(2):157-77.

Cultural factors in social anxiety: a comparison of social phobia symptoms and Taijin kyofusho.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Western Washington University, Bellingham 98225-9089, USA. KNECHT@CC.WWU.EDU


The present study examined two forms of culturally-defined social anxiety: social anxiety or phobia, as defined by DSM-IV; (i.e., a concern of public scrutiny or embarrassment) and Taijin Kyofusho (TKS), a Japanese form of social anxiety centered around concern for offending others with inappropriate behavior or offensive appearance. These versions of social anxiety are also examined in relation to culturally-determined self definition as independent and interdependent. One hundred eighty-one U.S. students and 161 students enrolled in Japanese universities were administered scales to assess social anxiety and phobia and TKS symptoms and behaviors, as well as construal of self as independent or interdependent. Factor analyses of the three scales used to assess social anxiety yielded three factors, each clearly corresponding to the respective scales and defining TKS and DSM-defined social anxiety. A case analysis indicated that there was an approximate 50% co-occurrence between high scorers on the TKS and social phobia scales. Multiple regression analyses resulted in a different set of predictors of TKS and SPS for the U.S. and Japanese respondents. Results were interpreted as suggesting that cultural variables can mediate the expression of social anxiety but that both forms of social anxiety can be found in each sample.

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