Graduation Date


Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Department or Program Chair

William Phillips, PhD

First Reader

Matthew Davis, PhD


Anxiety has become the United States’ most common mental health disorder affecting about one third of both adolescents and adults. The American College Health Association has also reported an increase in undergraduate students reporting “overwhelming anxiety” from 50% in 2011 to 62% in 2016. While anxiety affects individuals in different age groups, adolescence can be a time of heightened anxiety, in part because of the constant evaluation from others and because the processes that allow individuals to understand and interact with another, are still developing. Social anxiety has also been linked with perceived social rank, a system that is presumed to arise out of the competition for resources. Socially anxious individuals view themselves as being of lower ranking in the hierarchal system and therefore believe they are incapable of competing with those above them. The goal of the present study was to determine if socially anxious adolescents feel they are of a lower social rank. Participants were 46 individuals from a small liberal arts university in northern California. Participants were given the Social Comparison Scale along with the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale and a series of demographic questions. The results suggest that socially anxious individuals with a perceived lower social rank will exhibit higher levels of social anxiety. In a society highly driven by the desire to attend college and greatly affected by anxiety, it is important to further explore relationships between anxiety and other factors to work towards a solution to this social problem.

Included in

Psychology Commons