HYDERABAD: Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is significant among MBBS students attending Osmania Medical College (OMC), and the gender and family history of the mental illness are significantly associated with frequency of SAD.
The findings were published in a research paper titled ‘A cross-sectional study of symptom profile and socio-demographic risk factors of Social Anxiety Disorder’ published in the International Archives of Integrated Medicine.
About 55.9 per cent of students who participated in the study reported social anxiety symptoms, of which 9 per cent reported very severe social phobia.
The study covered 279 MBBS students between 18-25 years of age attending Osmania Medical College (OMC). A total of 60.9 per cent female students and 38.7 per cent male students participated in the study.
About 83.5 per cent of the students belonged to nuclear families and 78.1 per cent were from urban areas. While 156 (55.9 per cent) students reported social anxiety with various degrees of severity, 56 of them reported moderate social phobia, 52 reported marked social phobia, 23 reported severe social phobia and 25 reported very severe social phobia.
The study, which was conducted online, also observed that there may be increased stress among students due to the ongoing pandemic, which may be a precipitating factor. Another reason stated was that as people are asked to avoid gatherings and follow social distancing in view of the pandemic, the same may be confused with social anxiety.
“There is further need to explore through direct interview methods to know the exact numbers of those suffering from SAD. Further, counselling sessions need to be planned for students at the entry levels so that they can improve their social interaction skills,” the study suggested.
The study was conducted by post graduate Naligala Mercy, Assistant Professor Aparna Meda and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, OMC Sudha Rani Kesavareddy. It was aimed to assess the frequency of SAD among medical students and to determine the socio-demographic risk factors for the development of SAD.