Associations between social anxiety disorders and the social aspects of young people's Internet and mobile phone use
This thesis investigates young people's use of the Internet and mobile phones, and focuses especially on associations between use of these technologies for communication purposes and social anxiety. First, two surveys are reported which examine the broad characteristics of young people’s Internet and mobile phone use. The first of these was conducted on paper and provides a general description of these activities amongst young people in the Teesside area of England. The second survey was conducted online with a population from a wider area and supports the paper survey. Together, the surveys indicate that there may be a small bias towards male use of and competence with the Internet. There may also be a small bias towards female use of mobile phones. Results concerning non-use of the Internet and mobile phones are also discussed. Reports of the surveys are followed by descriptions of a questionnaire study, also conducted in the Teesside area of England, which indicates that associations between the psychological conditions social anxiety and social phobia and use of the Internet and mobile phones, generally, and for communication purposes, are minimal. (However, small but significant associations are discussed). Finally, was conducted using Grounded Theory, is described. This reveals that that control over social interactions, sometimes in relation to transient, or situational, social anxiety, might be one important reason why young people like to use text-based Internet and mobile phone communication media to interact. It is concluded that whilst social anxiety as a psychological characteristic or trait may not be strongly related to young people s use of the Internet and mobile phones for communication purposes, young people may nevertheless sometimes use these technologies to manage situational social anxiety.