PREVALENCE AND ASSOCIATED FACTORS OF PHOBIA AND SOCIAL ANXIETY AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Redhwan Ahmed Al-Naggar
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of the most common phobias and associated factors among university students. Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out at Management and Science University (MSU). Random sampling was performed throughout all faculties. The questionnaires were distributed randomly at classes, library and university cafe within MSU. Diagnosis of anxiety disorders were established according to DSM-IV criteria. These criteria are included in Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS). The questionnaire consists of two sections. The first section consists of socio-demographic characteristics such as (age, sex, race, type of faculty and income); the second section is LSAS standard questionnaire. Multiple linear regression using backward analysis was performed to obtain the associated factors. Results: A total number of four hundred sixty eight (468) students participated in this study. The majority of them were older than 20 years old, female, Malay and from non-medical and heath faculties (59.6%, 69.6%, 77.8%, 68.8%; respectively). Regarding history of abuse during childhood, the majority of the university students reported that there was no sexual, physical and emotional abuse during childhood (98.5%, 97.4%, 82.1%; respectively). The majority of the students (53.85%) reported that they have phobia. The highest type of phobia reported among university students was phobia from snake (11.5%), followed by speaking in front of crowd (9.2%) and the lowest were phobia of speed, dolls phobia, ropes phobia. Types of faculty, smoking status and history of physical abuse during childhood were the factors that significantly influence the social anxiety among university students in univariate and multivariate analysis. Conclusion: The prevalence of phobic symptoms among university students was high types of faculty; smoking status and history of physical abuse during childhood significantly influenced social anxiety among university students. Education and counseling university students is necessary to educate the students who suffer from phobia to cope with different situations during study period.