The role of stress reactivity in the long-term persistence of adolescent social anxiety symptoms

S.A. Nelemans, W. Hale, Susan J. T. Branje, P. A C van Lier, H. M. Koot, W.H.J. Meeus

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) symptoms demonstrate a marked persistence over time, but little is known empirically about short-term processes that may account for this long-term persistence. In this study, we examined how self-reported and physiological stress reactivity were associated with persistence of SAD symptoms from early to late adolescence. A community sample of 327 adolescents (56% boys, Mage = 13.01 at T1) reported their SAD symptoms for 6 successive years and participated in a public speaking task, during which self-reported (i.e., perceived nervousness and heart rate) and physiological (i.e., cortisol and heart rate) measures of stress were taken. Overall, our results point to a developmental process in which adolescents with a developmental history of higher SAD symptoms show both heightened perceived stress reactivity and heart rate reactivity, which, in turn, predict higher SAD symptoms into late adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-104
Number of pages14
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume125
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Developmental processes
  • Public speaking task
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD) symptoms
  • Stress reactivity

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