Social anxiety disorder is one of the most challenging disorders in adolescence [1–3]. During this age, the incidence of social anxiety increases notably [4–6]. Adolescence is an important developmental stage with regard to emotional, cognitive, biological, and social changes [7,8] where youths are confronted with many psychologically relevant challenges. For example, they have to deal with questions of identity and self-perception as well as with increasing autonomy and responsibility. At the same time, relationships with peers and romantic partners get more important and influence the development of self-esteem and social competencies [9, 10]. In addition, the significance and frequency of achievement at school and during leisure time also increases . Since cognitive abilities increase in adolescence, reflections and self-evaluations become more detailed and often more critical . As a consequence, the time of adolescence is characterized by high self-awareness and self-criticism and thus, can result in high vulnerability especially with regard to social anxiety and social problems [7, 13].
Symptoms of social anxiety disorder are often stable through adolescence [14, 15] and can persist into adulthood . Besides the risk of chronicity, there is a large amount of accompanying psychosocial risk that can hinder the psychological, emotional, and social development of adolescents [16–19]. Youths who suffer from social anxiety disorder often have problems at school or work and difficulties that are related to interactions with peers and intimate partners [20–25]. Moreover, co-morbid disorders as depression, other anxiety disorders, and/or alcohol abuse often develop [16, 26–28]. As a consequence, socially anxious youths have a lower educational level, are more often unemployed, are less socially integrated, and are less often in partnerships compared to their healthy peers [16, 25, 29]. Because of these risks, an early and adequate identification as well as an appropriate intervention for social anxiety are desirable.