What are the causes of social anxiety disorder

Info pages of the special clinic for anxiety disorders

Social anxiety disorder is not based on a single cause ...

Individuals with social anxiety disorder have the central fear of being viewed negatively by others in situations in which they are the center of attention. The current literature on the development and maintenance of social anxiety discusses various causes that increase the likelihood of this anxiety disorder occurring.

Studies that try to examine the influence of genes on the development of social anxiety have so far shown a heredity of around 30%. This means that around 30% of fear in social situations can be explained by biological influences. On the other hand, this means that environmental influences (e.g. the learning history of the individual) contribute significantly more (60%) to the development of this anxiety disorder. A special gene that explains the disease has not yet been found.

Learning history:
As already mentioned, the main concern of socially anxious people is not to meet the expectations of others or to behave incompetently in social situations. Assessments of one's own self as a failure and the relativization of one's own achievements to perfectionist basic convictions also play a role. How can such assumptions about social interactions develop?
The above concerns often develop in the course of a child's development. An overprotective parenting style and excessive performance demands on the part of parents can hinder the development of a positive self-concept. Critical assumptions about social contacts are adopted by parents through model learning and social reinforcement. Often social failures, such as teasing in the school yard or failing important exams, also contribute to the development of a fearful conviction.

Other causes
In addition to the causes presented above, there are other assumptions in the literature about possible mechanisms of development (e.g. biological requirements such as malfunctions at the level of neurotransmitters in the brain, deficits in social competence, etc.). It is important, however, that the occurrence of the disease should always be understood as an interaction between certain prerequisites (so-called vulnerability factors) and triggering events (e.g. critical life events or increased social demands).