Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 09 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) are prevalent disorders that exhibit a high rate of co-occurrence. Furthermore, these disorders have been shown to be associated with each other, suggesting that the presence of one disorder increases risk for the other disorder. In this chapter, we discuss relevant theories that attempt to explain why SAD and MDD are related. We propose that the available evidence provides support for conceptualizing the comorbidity of SAD and MDD as resulting from a shared underlying vulnerability. There is evidence that this underlying vulnerability is genetic in nature and related to trait-like constructs such as positive and negative affect. We also discuss the possibility that the underlying vulnerability may confer tendencies toward certain patterns of thinking. Finally, we discuss theories that propose additional causal pathways between the disorders such as direct pathways from one disorder to the other. We advocate for a psychoevolutionary conceptualization that links the findings on the underlying cognitions to the shared relation of lower positive affect and the findings on peer victimization. We suggest that, in addition to a shared underlying vulnerability, the symptoms of social anxiety and depression may function as a part of a behavior trap in which attempts to cope with perceived social exclusion lead to even higher levels of social anxiety and depression. Finally, we make recommendations for the best methods for assessing SAD and MDD as well as suggestions for treating individuals with both disorders.

Keywords: social anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, depression, comorbidity, conceptualizing the comorbidity

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.