Care to lend a hand: Will social anxiety have an effect on prosocial behaviors?


JaQuilla Patterson, Senior, Psychology, College of Arts and Letters

Faculty Mentor(s):

Dr. Harriett Richard, Johnson C Smith University
Dr. Douglas Cooper, Johnson C Smith University




Social anxiety is currently the third largest psychosocial disorder in the United States with effects plaguing about 15 million adults. The purpose of the present study is to examine the correlation between an individual’s level of social anxiety and their willingness to perform prosocial behaviors (willingness to help others). A sample of 75 undergraduate students at an HBCU in North Carolina completed a self-report questionnaire packet consisting of two scales (Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale and a 15 item questionnaire that rated the participant’s willingness to help others) and a demographic survey. An individual’s level of social anxiety was found to not have a significant effect (p>.05) on a person’s willingness to perform prosocial behavior. Future studies are needed to examine whether familial or environmental influences have an effect on determining the different levels of social anxiety a person may obtain . The societal backgrounds may also need to be evaluated to determine if it plays a definitive role in encouraging or discouraging prosocial behaviors.


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