Social Anxiety Disorder in the Context of Problem Based-Learning

ABSTRACT Objective To investigate the symptoms of social anxiety disorder (SAD) among medical students of the Christus University Center (Unichristus), an institution that adopts the problem-based learning (PBL) method. Methods A cross-sectional study with 431 students in their first to fourth years of Medical School, through the application of the Liebowitz Social anxiety scale (LSAS-SR), Beck’s anxiety Inventory, and a questionnaire with questions concerning sociodemographic issues, family history of psychiatric disorders, psychiatric appointments, level of anxiety when expressing themselves in tutorials, and the perception of how their anxiety varied throughout the college semesters. Results Using the LSAS-SR as a screening tool for cases of SAD, there were indications of the disorder in 59.2% (255) of the students. In relation to the level of anxiety, the Beck’s anxiety inventory (BAI) showed that 59.3% (258) of the students presented minimal anxiety, 26.6% (115) presented light anxiety, 9.7% (42) presented moderate anxiety, and 4.4% (19) presented severe anxiety. A significant correlation was observed between the scores obtained in the BAI and LSAS-SR scales: students with symptoms suggesting social anxiety showed a greater degree of anxiety. Also, students with symptoms of social anxiety reported higher levels of anxiety when expressing themselves during tutorials. Conclusions The high prevalence of SAD pointed out in this research justifies stimulating the adoption of psycho-educational measures and pedagogical strategies that will help students with the manifestations of social anxiety, reduce these symptoms, and promote the teaching-learning process.