Introduction: Social anxiety is common among adolescents with a prevalence range of 9-34%. People with social anxiety have intense fear of being evaluated negatively when they come in contact with strangers and as a result they are less satisfied with their life experiences. Our study aimed to screen school going adolescents for social anxiety disorder and to estimate their perceptions about quality of life. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Karachi, Pakistan from January to February 2016. We recruited 450 high-school students of ages 14-17 using a self-administered questionnaire based on the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale for Children and Adolescents (LSAS-CA-SR) and the brief version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) questionnaire. Results: In this school-based study, 23.8% screened positive for social anxiety with a preponderance of adolescents from public than private schools (33% vs. 18%, p<0.001). Social anxiety status, however, was not associated with gender and age. Screening positive for social anxiety was found to be associated with a significant difference in mean scores on all four domains (physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and environment) of WHOQOL-BREF. Conclusion: Social anxiety is prevalent among Pakistani school adolescents with a substantial negative effect on quality of life. Adolescents must be targeted with interventions such as group treatment and mentorship programs that are effective in tackling the menace of social anxiety.
Syeda Ayesha Farooq, Aeman Muneeb, Warda Ajmal, Maaida Asif Tauni, Sana Mahmood, Syed Kalimullah Sohaib Qadri, Asfand Yar Butt, Syed Farrukh Mustafa, Syed Hamza Sohail and Narjis Rizvi
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