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Measuring the Scale and Scope of Social Anxiety among Students in Pakistani Higher Education Institutions: An Alternative Social Anxiety Scale

Ejaz, Bisma and Muazzam, Amina and Anjum, Ambreen and Pollock, Gary and Nawaz, Raheel (2020) Measuring the Scale and Scope of Social Anxiety among Students in Pakistani Higher Education Institutions: An Alternative Social Anxiety Scale. Sustainability, 12 (6). p. 2164.

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Abstract

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is neither just shyness, nor for most victims does it merely involve an inability to speak in public. For most sufferers of this disorder, it could be a pervasive, disabling condition that steals away opportunities for a richer, fuller life. Having an early onset and combining high prevalence rates with serious negative effects on functioning and quality of life, SAD is a public health problem of considerable magnitude. Hence, its assessment using a standardized measure and timely intervention can completely preempt or at least lessen the severity of this psychiatric illness. So far SAD among students in higher education institutions is a less investigated area of study in Pakistan. Students generally avoid reporting difficulties they experience while making interactions with people and quietly try to combat with their fears in social settings. Proper and timely diagnosis and treatment of SAD are required, and for this purpose, the need of the hour is to create a culturally oriented measuring instrument for proper surveillance of the student population in Pakistan. This paper, drawing from a study conducted at Higher Education Institutions (HEI) across Pakistan, addresses this issue by devising an indigenous, comprehensive, well-founded and valid scale of social anxiety in the Urdu language. The use of this scale, both in general and patient care settings, would effectively screen individuals who could be at risk of being victimized by this disorder. This alternative Social Anxiety Scale (SAS) carefully evaluates social behaviors and attitudes while also ensuring that cultural perspectives are considered, which would also encourage clinicians to evaluate SAD in Pakistani population.

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