The structure of feared social situations among race-ethnic minorities and Whites with social anxiety disorder in the United States

Transcult Psychiatry. 2015 Dec;52(6):791-807. doi: 10.1177/1363461515576823. Epub 2015 Mar 20.


We investigated feared social situations in individuals with social anxiety disorder from different racial and ethnic groups in the United States. The sample included 247 African Americans, 158 Latinos, and 533 non-Latino Whites diagnosed with social anxiety disorder within the past 12 months from the integrated Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Studies data set. After randomly splitting the full sample, we conducted an exploratory factor analysis with half of the sample to determine the structure of feared social situations in a more diverse sample than has been used in previous studies. We found evidence for a model consisting of three feared social domains: performance/public speaking, social interaction, and observational. We then conducted a confirmatory factor analysis on the remaining half of the sample to examine whether this factor structure varied significantly between the race-ethnic groups. Analyses revealed an adequate fit of this model across all three race-ethnic groups, suggesting invariance of the factor structure between the study groups. Broader cultural contexts within which these findings are relevant are discussed, along with important implications for comprehensive, culturally sensitive assessment of social anxiety.

Keywords: African American; Latino; White; collaborative psychiatric epidemiology studies; culture; ethnicity; social anxiety disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology*
  • Ethnopsychology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / ethnology*
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult