I have just read an interesting blog on the BPS Research Digest entitled Are people with social anxiety preoccupied by social rank?
The DSM criteria for a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder is:
a) a persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations.
b) Exposure to the feared situation almost always provokes anxiety.
c) the individual recognises that their fear is unreasonable or excessive.
d) the avoidance, anxious preoccupation, or distress in the feared situation significantly interferes with their life.
e) the fear or avoidance is not linked to a direct physiological effect of substances such as drugs or medication, or to another medical condition.
So, with this criteria in mind, are people with social anxiety preoccupied with social rank?
I am not so sure that it is a preoccupation with social rank, but more so an innate feeling of inferiority resulting from the belief that others are preoccupied with social rank.
Situations become anxiety-provoking because the individual fears that they are being judged negatively. This does not indicate that they necessarily believe that they should be of high social ranking in terms of job, education, or anything else. Neither does it necessarily suggest that they have a desire to be of a higher rank than they are. What it does mean is that they do care about how they are judged by others.
Thus, is social anxiety more about lack of confidence and desire to be liked?