A Japanese form of social anxiety (taijin kyofusho): Frequency and correlates in two generations of the same family

Cecilia A. Essau*, Satoko Sasagawa, Shin Ichi Ishikawa, Isa Okajima, Jean O'Callaghan, Diane Bray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: One specific type of social anxiety, occurring primarily in Japanese culture, is called taijin kyofusho. Taijin kyofusho is characterized by an intense fear that one's body parts or functions displease, embarrass or are offensive to others. Aim: The main aim of the present study was to compare the frequency and correlates of taijin kyofusho symptoms (TKS) in Japanese adolescents and their parents. Method: The sample included 351 adolescents, aged 12 to 17 years, and one of their parents/guardians. These adolescents were recruited from secondary schools in Miyazaki, Japan. All participants completed a set of questionnaires that were used to measure TKS, DSM-IV anxiety disorder symptoms, general difficulties and positive attributes, selfconstruals and social support. Results: Adolescents reported significantly more TKS than their parent/guardians. In each generational sample high TKS was significantly associated with high levels of anxiety symptoms, the strongest correlation being with social phobia. The pattern of the relationship between self-construal and TKS differed across the two generations. Among adolescents, independent self-construal was associated with lower TKS, whereas among parents, interdependent self-construal was associated with lower evaluative concerns from others. Conclusion: The present study illustrates the importance of the diverse roles that self-construals play in TKS across different generations of the same family constellation in contemporary Japanese culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-642
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • anxiety symptoms
  • self-construals
  • social anxiety disorder
  • taijin kyofusho

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine(all)


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