Shyness and social phobia in Israeli Jewish vs Arab students

Iulian Iancu, Amiram Sarel, Avi Avital, Basheer Abdo, Samia Joubran, Edward Ram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Social anxiety disorder (SAD) has been repeatedly shown to be very prevalent in the Western society with prevalence rates of 10% or above. However, very few studies have been performed in the Middle East and in Arab countries. Methods: A total of 300 Israeli students participated in our study and were administered the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), the Cheek and Buss Shyness Questionnaire (CBSQ), and a sociodemographic questionnaire. Results: A total of 153 Jewish and 147 Arab students participated in the survey. Social anxiety disorder was found in 12.33% of the sample, according to the LSAS cutoff score of more than 60. The 2 subsamples had similar LSAS and CBSQ scores and similar SAD-positive rates (LSAS >60). Females had higher scores on the LSAS, as were those without a spouse and those who had been in psychological treatment. Based on a regression analysis, the significant predictors of the LSAS score were the CBSQ score and female sex. A very high correlation was found between the LSAS and the CBSQ scores. Conclusions: Although our sample is not representative of the whole Israeli population, we conclude that SAD and shyness were similarly prevalent in Jewish and Arab students in Israel. Social anxiety disorder scores were higher among females, those without a spouse, and those who received psychological treatment. Further studies on the clinical and cultural characteristics of SAD in Israeli subcultures would add to the growing body of knowledge on SAD in various cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708-714
Number of pages7
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Volume52
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

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