Social Anxiety Affects Perceptions of Friendships, and Other News

girl-gazes-out-window-friends-playAs much as 13% of the adult population struggles with social anxiety. Social anxiety can make it difficult to make friends, leading to feelings of isolation that can make the anxiety even worse. According to new research, though, people with social anxiety disorder may underestimate their friendships.

Researchers evaluated 112 participants who either had or did not have social anxiety. Each participant brought a friend who agreed to participate in the study. People with social anxiety rated their friendships as more troubled than the friends they brought with them did. Interestingly, the friends of people with social anxiety were often unaware of how much their friends struggled with anxiety.

The study’s authors point out that when people with social anxiety perceive their friendships as low quality or troubled, they may suffer deficits in self-esteem that undermine further attempts at making or retaining friendships.

Most Mental Health Disorders Not Increasing in Children and Youth, Large Canadian Study Says

Though media coverage of mental health among children gives the impression that mental health conditions are increasingly common among children, a Canadian study has found otherwise. The study included 11,725 children ranging in age from 10 to 15. Researchers evaluated children in the 1990s and in the 2000s and found that, compared to kids in the 1990s, kids have a slightly lower rate of depression. Hyperactivity, though, had significantly increased. 

X Factor Can Do Better When It Comes to Mental Health Stigma

“The X Factor,” a popular talent show, is receiving criticism for its portrayal of mental health issues. As part of the show’s Halloween performance, participant Lola Saunders recently performed Gnarles Barkley’s Crazy as dancers performed in straitjackets. This performance offers a stereotypical and stigmatized view of people who need mental health care. When Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, one of the show’s judges, was asked how the performance related to Halloween, she remarked that because the performance involved “crazy” people, it fit the Halloween theme. 

Is Your Relationship Moving Toward Marriage? If It Isn’t, You Probably Can’t Admit It

Couples in troubled relationships may not accurately remember details of their relationships, according to a 9-month study of 232 heterosexual couples. Couples who were moving toward marriage and growing closer more accurately remembered details of their relationships than couples whose relationships had stagnated or gotten less close.

Youth Pastors Feel Ill-Equipped to Help Youths With Mental Health Issues, Study Finds

Church youth groups are frequently small and intimate, led by youth pastors to whom children may turn when they need help. According to a survey of 94 youth pastors, whose congregation sizes ranged from 45 to 8,000, youth pastors report that they feel poorly equipped to help children who struggle with mental health challenges. 

A ‘Purpose in Life’ May Extend Yours

A British study of 9,00 seniors has found that a sense of meaning and purpose could help people live longer. Nine percent of people who reported a strong sense of purpose died during the study, compared to 29% of people who did not feel a strong sense of purpose. 

‘Smart’ Drugs Won’t Make People Smarter, Research Concludes

One in five students report taking Modafinil, a stimulant drug which some students believe can improve academic performance. According to a study which compared 32 people who took the drug to an additional 32 who took a placebo, though, the drug might actually impede performance. Each participant took the Hayling Sentence Completion Test, but those who had taken Modafinil had slowed reaction times that undermined their academic performance.

With NCAA Grant, Michigan Launches Pilot Program to Support Athletes’ Mental Health

With the assistance of an NCAA grant, the University of Michigan recently launched a pilot program to tackle mental health issues among student athletes. The program has two key components: a system of drop-in support groups where student-athletes who are struggling can seek help, and a series of videos featuring student athletes talking about mental health issues. For example, in the video below, former swimming captain Kally Fayhee discusses her struggle with disordered eating.

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  • Connor


    November 14th, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    I would somehow love to be able to look at the flip side of the research into social anxiety and determine how those person’s friends feel about the friendships. I would be willing to be that those without this sort of anxiety will not perceive that there is anything at all wrong with the friendships and that they are fairly stable and secure

  • jessica


    November 15th, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    So I find it curious that although we are always talking about how terrible it is for kids today and yet the numbers are suggesting something totally different? How is it that our perception of what is going on and then the reality of it are so totally different from one another?

  • Abbey A.

    Abbey A.

    November 16th, 2014 at 5:41 AM

    I have never heard of this smart drug as you call it. What happened to studying more and hoping that that this will lead to more academic success? Oh yeah, that means you have to work a little harder and we are more all about instant gratification and getting something for nothing. Anyway, I have never really been much in the habit of relying on something other than my own efforts to help me succeed and I think that this time it would be no different especially since it looks as if there are some implications that it can actually slow you down.

  • JT


    November 16th, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    You can easily see how having some sense of meaning in your life is going to propel you forward while not having that can leave you feeling a little lost and with nothing to live for.

  • clyde


    November 17th, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    This really bugs me when I think about all of the money that athletics would normally get at a school the size of Michigan and yet grant money has to be sought out to hep cover the costs of mental health treatments. Think of all of the money that is already spent on athletics at schools this size, while other student services probably have to beg and borrow for every little crumb that they get.

  • Sheila


    November 18th, 2014 at 3:50 AM

    I choose to take what I feel about the mental health of others from far more credible sources than the X Factor

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