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Risk Factors for Social Anxiety Disorder

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Risk Factors for Social Anxiety Disorder

A risk factor is something that raises your chances of getting a health problem.

You can have social anxiety disorder (SAD) with or without any of the risks listed below. The more you have, the greater your chances of getting it.

SAD is more common in women. It tends to appear in the early teen years and mainly in those who are shy. For some people, it may not start until they are young adults.

Other factors that may make the risk of SAD higher:


  • Social anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115906/Social-anxiety-disorder. Updated September 21, 2018. Accessed February 27, 2019.
  • Social anxiety disorder: More than just shyness. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/social-anxiety-disorder-more-than-just-shyness/index.shtml. Accessed February 27, 2019.
  • Social phobia. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/anxiety-and-stressor-related-disorders/social-phobia. Updated July 2018. Accessed February 27, 2019.


  • Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.