Asthma and Social Anxiety in Adolescents

Jean Marie Bruzzese, Paige H. Fisher, Nadia Lemp, Carrie Masia Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the relationship between self-reported social anxiety and asthma in a non-clinical sample of adolescents. Study design: High school students (n = 765) completed the Social Anxiety Scale for Adolescents (SAS-A), the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory for Children (SPAI-C), and questions on asthma diagnosis, asthma symptoms, and asthma-related limitations and medical care. Relationships were examined between social anxiety symptoms and asthma, including history of diagnosis, diagnosis plus current symptoms, and severity. Results: 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. Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-403
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


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