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Social Anxiety and Normal Development


Admission requirements

Reseach master’s students


Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, is the third most common psychological problem in adolescence and adulthood, only surpassed by alcohol abuse and depression.
It is evident that adolescents differ widely in the extent to which they are fearful of social evaluation: some adolescents are severely anxious of situations in which they are exposed to the scrutiny of others, some are mildly apprehensive, and yet others do not seem to care much about these situations. The tendency of individuals with social anxiety disorder to avoid these kinds of social situations poses a serious threat to their social-emotional development. Cognitive intellectual development is also jeopardized when the avoidance behavior includes extensive avoidance of school.

The course will focus at four key questions:

  • What is the global developmental pathway of social anxiety throughout adolescence?;

  • Which factors are associated with the global developmental pathway?;

  • What individual differences occur alongside the global developmental pathway?;

  • and which factors help to explain the existence of pathways different to the global developmental pattern?

Course objectives

  • Raise understanding of adolescent development and why adolescence is a vulnerable period for developing dysfunctional social anxiety.

  • Developing a critical attitude in reading papers.

  • Training in developing ideas for future studies.

  • Improve skills of discussing own ideas in the group and writing proposals for new studies.


Social Anxiety and Normal Development (2010-2011):

Mode of instruction

Seven 2-hour sessions (weekly), each addressing one of a number of themes, based on recent empirical publications. In the first session the SAND research project about social anxiety and normal development will be introduced. The remaining 6 sessions will contain student presentations and group discussions regarding a specific theme. Students are expected to prepare for each session by reading the listed papers (available via Blackboard) and writing an essay addressing specific questions about the papers.

Assessment method

Presentations, group discussions and an essay.

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on

Reading list

Literature will be made available via Blackboard.


Introduction and enrolment for courses of the first semester will take place in 2 September 2010. Introduction and enrolment for courses of the second semester will take place in January 2011. More information will be available at the website of the Institute of Psychology.

Contact information

Mw. Dr. C.L. Bokhorst
Room 3B36
Tel: +31(0)71- 527 4044