What is the etiology of social anxiety disorder (social phobia)?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Genetic factors seem to play a role in social phobia. Based on family and twin studies, the risk for social phobia appears to be moderately heritable. [25, 26]

Social phobia can be initiated by traumatic social experience (eg, embarrassment) or by social skills deficits that produce recurring negative experiences. A hypersensitivity to rejection, perhaps related to serotonergic or dopaminergic dysfunction, is present. Current thought is that social phobia appears to be an interaction between biological and genetic factors and environmental events.


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