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Social Anxiety and Specific Phobia in youth

Welcome to the Social Anxiety and Specific Phobia (SASP) Research Group!

We are a group of researchers dedicated to understanding, recognizing, preventing, and improving treatments for anxiety problems in children and adolescents, with a particular focus on social anxiety and specific phobia.

Social anxiety is about the fear of receiving negative evaluations from other people, experiencing distress in social situations, and the tendency to avoid these situations. It most commonly onsets in early-to-mid adolescence with up to 11% of adolescents experiencing social anxiety problems in their lifetime of whom about 50% experience a serious disorder.

Specific phobia is defined by a persistent and marked fear of specific objects (e.g., buttons), animals (e.g., dogs, spiders), or situations (e.g., thunder storms, heights). Specific phobia is common in both children and adolescents, with approximately 20% reporting specific phobia symptoms.

If left untreated both anxiety types foreshadow negative outcomes such as lower academic performance, school refusal, loneliness, depression, substance abuse, and poorer job opportunities.

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