Category: Adult Anxiety - Social
Social anxiety (fear of negative evaluation) is one of the most widely prevalent psychiatric conditions among young adults (Kessler et al., 2005). It has been theorized that social anxiety varies based on various sociocultural factors (Hofmann et al., 2010). Yet little empirical work has examined the role of cultural factors in social anxiety. Theoretically, Black persons may be vulnerable to social anxiety as a result of their experiences with racial discrimination. In fact, perceived racial discrimination (PRD) is associated with several negative health outcomes, including greater anxiety/psychological distress (Ladrine & Klonoff, 1996; Pascoe & Richman, 2009). In the only known study of the relation between PRD and social anxiety, Chinese immigrants who reported more PRD endorsed greater social anxiety when interacting with White individuals as well as other Chinese individuals (Fang et al., 2015). PRD is a higher order factor with four lower order factors (e.g., Stigmatization/Disvaluation: perceiving others have low expectations for you because of your race; Exclusion/Rejection: perceiving others have excluded/rejected you because of your race) which have shown sound psychometric properties (Brondolo et al., 2005). The current study extends prior research in three ways: (1) we examined the relation between PRD and social anxiety among Black individuals; (2) we tested whether specific PRD subscales conceptually related to negative evaluation (i.e., Stigmatization/Disvaluation, Exclusion/Rejection) would be positively related to social anxiety; and (3) we examined whether ethnic identity (EI) impacted these relations given previous research indicating that EI is negatively related to anxiety (e.g., Williams et al., 2012). The sample consisted of non-Hispanic Black undergraduates (N = 134). Stigmatization/Disvaluation (r = 0.29, p = .001) and Exclusion/Rejection (r = .286, p = .001) were significantly correlated with social anxiety. After controlling for depression, EI significantly moderated the relations of Stigmatization/Disvaluation, β = -.16, p < .05, f2 = 0.02, and Exclusion/Rejection, β = -0.16, p < .05, f2 = 0.02, with social anxiety. Among Black students with lower EI, Stigmatization/Disvaluation, β= 0.33, p < .01, and Exclusion/Rejection, β= 0.26, p < .05, were significantly positively related to social anxiety. Among participants with higher EI, there was no significant Stigmatization/Disvaluation-social anxiety relation, β= 0.04, p = .686, or significant Exclusion/Rejection-social anxiety relation, β= -0.01, p = .883. Findings indicate that certain PRD subfacets are related to social anxiety among Black persons and that EI may serve as a protective factor and ameliorate this relation. Clinical implications will be discussed.