Date of Conferral







Sandra Street


Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorders for children and youths, and social anxiety disorder (SAD) is the third most common anxiety disorder. SAD can negatively impact school performance, mental health, and healthy social development. In comparison to other forms of anxiety, current treatments for SAD have not been as efficacious. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore other factors of adolescent SAD, such as the role of resilience. The two research questions addressed the lived experiences of adolescents with SAD and how they developed resilience in relation to their SAD. Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory of development provided the framework for the study. Data collection involved semistructured interviews with 10 participants with SAD, ages 18–25. Data were analyzed using Moustakas’s modification of the Van Kaam method. Participants identified several challenges associated with SAD, and each lived experience with SAD was unique. Participants developed resilience with SAD by accessing specific resources in their microsystems despite the fact that it was in these microsystems that participants encountered their challenges. For adolescents to develop resilience with SAD, they need to engage in their social environments. Recommended treatment for adolescent SAD begins with understanding the adolescent’s unique challenges and existing areas of resilience. Through an individualized approach to treatment, the level of challenges that adolescents with SAD experience may be reduced. Facilitating healthy social development for adolescents with SAD is a valuable form of positive social change.