9 Aug 2022


Social Anxiety Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Academic level: College

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America is a country which truly exemplifies the idea of diversity being a beauty and a strength and that strength lies in differences not similarities. Looking at the country’s population, there is a limitless array of not only races, but also culture and ethnicities. Such diversity has nourished the nation by putting forward different perspectives and ideas which are all productive contributions to the nation. It is true that an individual’s productivity is directly linked to their state of mind thus we cannot afford to dismiss the value of mental health. It is important to take keen study on mental and psychological disorders because they are real and are experienced by several Americans. One of the mental and psychological disorders which are considered prevalent are the anxiety disorders ( Brook & Schmidt, 2008) . Whilst some individuals crave for attention and the need for social interactions, others find this kind of social engagement terrifying. The latter group of people are said to have a social anxiety disorder, or as it was formerly referred to, social phobia. Typically, this particular psychological disorder is developed before adulthood and an individual is often overwhelmed with anxiety and too much self-consciousness whenever he or she is in a social setting. In order to explore and have a further understanding of this topic on social anxiety disorder, we will use the diversity lenses of race, culture and ethnicity. 

Literature Review 

According to the U.S. Public Health Service ( Budhwani, Hearld and Chavez-Yenter, 2015) , there is a close relation between mental health, culture and race, without forgetting ethnicity. Most research sources concur that anxiety disorders are strongly influenced by the named three factors. The report of the surgeon general coherently spelt out that mental disorders are in fact real, and they disable the productivity of people of all populations regardless of race, ethnicity or culture. 

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Among factors that have persistent effects on socioeconomic and health indicators are race and ethnicity. Racial organizations in a workplace, for example, may cause psychological distress to an individual who is not part of that particular race. When an African American child goes to a school that is populated with White American students, or Hispanic American students, he or she may have a higher tendency of being endorsed with symptoms of social anxiety disorder which develops from psychological distress of racial organization. Ethnicity in itself does not have a significant influence in social anxiety disorder but it still plays a role. Individuals from certain ethnic groups may have tendencies of developing this condition because of fear to confirm some negative stereotypes ( Latzman, Naifeh, Watson et al. 2011)

Culture to a significant extent defines a person since it is their way of life. An individual’s experience and expression of emotions is greatly influenced by their personal cultural background. For this reason, it is important to look through the diversity lens of culture when exploring social anxiety disorder. One cultural factor that is considered when evaluating the connection between culture and anxiety disorders is how people perceive the processes of psychology. This may not influence social anxiety disorder directly because it is an expression of an individual’s understanding of one’s body. Different cultures experience anxiety disorders but only that the expressions are painted differently. Contextual factors, however, has great influence on social anxiety disorder. Some cultures have more rules when it comes to how on should behave socially. Thus, an individual from Southeastern Asia will tend to be embarrassed over something that an American does not find embarrassing at all. The latter however is more likely to have a social anxiety disorder because of the individualistic culture where guilt and self-blame is induced by sanctions that are internal ( Hofmann & Hinton, 2014)

Analysis and Discussion 

From the review of literature, it is realized that race, ethnicity and culture are the most common lenses of diversity through which social anxiety disorder is explored. Race is tied to ethnicity when it comes to affecting individuals who develop the disorder. It is apparent that all these lenses of diversity influence the condition in a similar manner. Evidently, there are intersections between these diversity lenses which aids in simplifying the understanding on the social anxiety disorder. For instance, individuals from both minority races and ethnic groups are more likely to develop this disorder at childhood level. An Asian or African American child may not socialize with others in school because of fear of being embarrassed when the others make prejudices or stereotypes. 

Culture from specific races and ethnicities influence how an individual will manifest symptoms of social anxiety disorder, together with how they cope and their willingness to get treatment. Those from minority ethnics and races are at a higher risk of acquiring this disorder because they are greatly exposed to stressful events including racism, poverty, discrimination, and violence. Some White Americans are equally vulnerable, although at a later stage, mostly past adolescents. They become socially anxious in public situations and this forms a behavior pattern. 

Social anxiety affects individuals to varying extents. Some may suffer from it more than others. For instance, one may only fear speaking in public but among friends or small groups of people, they manage to interact and talk. One from a cultural background that is greatly stereotyped, for instance a Mexican American, may suffer more as compared to an African American who developed the disorder as a result of his or her race. According to researchers, White Americans who have the disorder are more willing to seek treatment as compared to others from different cultural backgrounds because of the beliefs they hold towards mental and psychological illnesses ( Takeuchi and Williams 2003)


From the findings of this research, social anxiety disorder is an illness that requires attention considering how it impairs someone’s life. Some individuals fail to interact with other people except their family members, others skip work or school just to avoid the scenario of being in a social setting. It is therefore important to reach out to such victims and get them the necessary help, especially since these victims are mostly children and adolescents. Also, looking at social disorders from the diversity lenses of race, ethnicity, and culture is helpful when trying to solve the mystery of the cause of this condition in someone. Although in some cases this disorder is inherited, it is possible to prevent it when children are given proper guiding and counselling. 


Social anxiety disorder is a type of an anxiety disorders which are in close association with negative emotional experiences. White Americans may exude more symptoms of this disorder as compared to others like African Americans or Hispanic Americans because of their cultural differences. Through the lens of race and ethnicity, however, those from minorities report more of such cases. Discussing this particular disorder from different perspectives, that is, through different lenses of diversity helps in learning more about the disorder and understanding it more. It is not possible to comprehend individuals with social anxiety if it is looked at from one angle. This disorder can affect anyone despite of race, ethnic, or cultural background. Nevertheless, some aspects of these factors makes some people more susceptible. Despite the influences of one’s race, ethnic group, or culture, social anxiety disorder is curable if proper treatment is sought. 


Brook, C. A., & Schmidt, L. A. (2008). Social anxiety disorder: A review of environmental risk factors.    Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment ,    4 (1), 123–143. 

Budhwani, H., Hearld, K., R. and Chavez-Yenter, D. (2015). Generalized Anxiety Disorder in racial and ethnic minorities: A case of nativity and contextual factors. Journal of Affective Disorders , Volume 175, 275 – 280. Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2015.01.035 

Hofmann, S. G., & Hinton, D. E. (2014). Cross-Cultural Aspects of Anxiety Disorders.    Current Psychiatry Reports ,    16 (6), 450. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-014-0450-3 

Latzman, R., D., Naifeh, J., N, Watson, D. et al. (2011). Racial Differences in Symptoms of Anxiety and Depresion among Three Cohorts of Students in the Southern United States. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Robert_Latzman/publication/51877231_Racial_Differences_in_Symptoms_of_Anxiety_and_Depression_Among_Three_Cohorts_of_Students_in_the_Southern_United_States/links/02e7e52cc57887f415000000.pdf?inViewer=0&pdfJsDownload=0&origin=publication_detail 

Takeuchi, D. and Williams, D. (2003). Race, Ethnicity and Mental Health: Introduction to the Social Issue. Journal of Health and Social Behavior , vol 44: 233-236. Retrieved from http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/davidrwilliams/files/2003-race_ethnicity_and-williams.pdf 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Social Anxiety Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.


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