Social anxiety and negative early life events in university students

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Abstract

Introduction: There is substantial evidence regarding the impact of negative life events during childhood on the aetiology of psychiatric disorders. We examined the association between negative early life events and social anxiety in a sample of 571 Spanish University students. Methods: In a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2007, we collected data through a semistructured questionnaire of sociodemographic variables, personal and family psychiatric history, and substance abuse. We assessed the five early negative life events: (i) the loss of someone close, (ii) emotional abuse, (iii) physical abuse, (iv) family violence, and (v) sexual abuse. All participants completed the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale. Results: Mean (SD) age was 21 (4.5), 75% female, LSAS score was 40 (DP = 22), 14.2% had a psychiatric family history and 50.6% had negative life events during childhood. Linear regression analyses, after controlling for age, gender, and family psychiatric history, showed a positive association between family violence and social anxiety score (p = 0.03). None of the remaining stressors produced a significant increase in LSAS score (p > 0.05). Conclusion: University students with high levels of social anxiety presented higher prevalence of negative early life events. Thus, childhood family violence could be a risk factor for social anxiety in such a population. © 2012 Elsevier Editora Ltda. All rights reserved.

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APA

Binelli, C., Ortiz, A., Muñiz, A., Gelabert, E., Ferraz, L., Filho, A. S., … Martín-Santos, R. (2012). Social anxiety and negative early life events in university students. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 34(SUPP 1). https://doi.org/10.1590/s1516-44462012000500006

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