Cultural Aspects of Social Anxiety Disorder: A Qualitative Analysis of Anxiety Experiences and Interpretation
Objective: Anxiety is a complex phenomenon on which culture has a prominent influence. The present study aimed to investigate the cultural aspects of social anxiety disorder (SAD) in an Iranian population.
Method: A qualitative content analysis research was done to answer the study question. A total of 16 individuals with social anxiety disorder (six men and 10 women) were selected using purposeful sampling method (M = 24.43, SD = 4.56). The study was conducted in Tehran, Urmia, and Sanandaj- Iran. Participants were from different ethnic backgrounds (LOR, FARS, TURK, and KURD). Data were analyzed by thematic analysis using an inductive method.
Results: Analysis of participants’ records yielded five distinct categories with some subcategories, which are as follow: (1) anxiety experiences; (2) core beliefs; (3) reasons of being anxious; (4) effects of SAD on life aspects; and (5) coping strategies.
Conclusion: It seems that symptoms of social anxiety and its underlying beliefs, causes and effects and coping strategies are almost experienced and interpreted in a way that could be the same as DSM-5 clinical presentation of social anxiety, with the exception that somatic symptoms are experienced by almost all participants.
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