Social Phobia and Educational and Interpersonal Impairments in Adolescence: A Prospective Study

Klaus Ranta, Annette M. La Greca, Riittakerttu Kaltiala-Heino, Mauri Marttunen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We examined longitudinal associations between social phobia (SP) and educational and interpersonal impairments among Finnish adolescents. Participants were 3278 adolescents (9th grade; M age = 15.5 years) who completed measures of SP and depressive symptoms; 2070 participated in follow-up two years later. Indicators for educational and interpersonal functioning were assessed for each sex separately. Multivariate analyses, controlling for depression and relevant socioeconomic covariates, indicated that for boys, age 15 SP predicted slow academic progression, being without a close friend or not having a romantic relationship, and poor support from friends and significant others at age 17. However, for girls, age 15 SP only predicted not having been involved in a romantic relationship by age 17. In conclusion, we found striking sex differences for adolescent SP as a predictor for subsequent educational and interpersonal impairments in late adolescence. SP may have a more devastating effect on boys' social and academic functioning relative to that of girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-677
Number of pages13
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Adolescents
  • Impairment
  • Social anxiety
  • Social phobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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