Social Anxiety Is A Risk Factor For Suicidal Ideation In Adolescents: Study

The study published in JCPP Advances highlights the increased risk of depression and suicidal ideation in adolescents who develop social anxiety disorder. This disorder, which typically manifests during adolescence, can lead to various negative outcomes such as poor social functioning, academic underperformance, and decreased sense of achievement.

Social anxiety may cause adolescents to avoid social situations or perform suboptimally due to safety behaviors, resulting in negative feedback from peers or peer rejection. These negative interpersonal experiences can lead to feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and reduced pleasure, which in turn can maintain social anxiety and trigger suicidal ideation.

The researchers recruited 2,397 young people residing in the United Kingdom, aged 14 to 24 years, through general practitioner clinics and schools in Cambridgeshire, London, and nearby areas from 2012 to 2017. The participants completed questionnaires to assess their mental health, including symptoms of depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, social anxiety symptoms, and generalized anxiety.

After two years of follow-ups, the researchers found that social anxiety was a “significant predictor” of suicidal ideation within the two-year time frame. The second author of the study, Argyris Stringaris, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at University College London, suggested that addressing social anxiety early could be crucial in preventing the development of suicidal thoughts and other depressive symptoms.

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