Asthma and Social Anxiety in Adolescents
The Journal of Pediatrics, 155(3), 398- 403, September 2009
Paige H. Fisher, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Jean-Marie Bruzzese, Naida Lemp & Carrie Masia Warner
This paper explores the relationship between self-reported social anxiety and asthma in a non-clinical sample of adolescents.
Compared with students without an asthma diagnosis and no symptoms, students with a diagnosis and current symptoms reported heightened social anxiety symptoms related to fear of negative evaluations and generalized discomfort in social settings as measured by the SAS-A. Additionally, a greater proportion of students with an asthma diagnosis and current symptoms were in the clinical range of social anxiety on the SAS-A. Differences on the SAS-A by history of asthma diagnosis and by severity were not supported. No differences were found on the SPAI-C for history of asthma diagnosis, diagnosis plus current symptoms or severity.
Students with current asthma symptoms were more likely to report social anxiety, perhaps related to concerns about exhibiting symptoms or taking medication in front of peers. These findings may suggest advantages for medical providers to identify and treat social anxiety in patients with asthma.