An interesting point about social anxiety as it appears in different populations.
Khazan: Has there been a rise in social anxiety, with social media and people interacting more through their computers?
Hofmann: It’s impossible to tell, because the definition of social anxiety disorder changes, and depending on how you define it, you’ll get different rates of prevalence.
We do know, however, that there are interesting differences between cultures, which tells you a little bit about how society also shapes and influences that. We know that [some] Asian cultures, such as Japan and China, report social anxiety disorder less often. In more collectivist cultures, where the individual is not in the center, social anxiety disorder is less of a problem. In individualistic cultures, where it’s important that you are your own, unique person, in those cases social anxiety becomes more of a problem. So Western cultures report the higher prevalence rates of social anxiety disorder. Even within the U.S., Asians report lower rates, whites report the highest rates, and Hispanics and African Americans are in between. So that has to do with the setting, the cultural background, family relationships, and the like.
^Or Asians just report it less…
Take Away: Cognitive behavioral therapy is more effective than medication treatment.