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

Anu Asnaani, Idan M. Aderka, Luana Marques, Naomi Simon, Donald J. Robinaugh, Stefan G. Hofmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-807
Number of pages17
JournalTranscultural Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Stefan G. Hofmann receives compensation for his work as an advisor for the Palo Alto Health Sciences and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., and receives royalties and payments for his editorial work from various publishers. This study was partially supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Grants MH-078308 and MH-081116 awarded to Stefan Hofmann. Naomi Simon is partially supported by a grant sponsored by the NIMH, Department of Defense (DOD), and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and is also a paid consultant for Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy, both for work unrelated to this study. Acknowledgements


  • African American
  • Latino
  • White
  • collaborative psychiatric epidemiology studies
  • culture
  • ethnicity
  • social anxiety disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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