The purpose of this study is to examine as to whether there are cultural differences giving rise to social anxiety. Also, it is to investigate whether social anxiety gives rise to internet use. The theoretical argument and empirical findings generally support the notion that cultural differences define and social anxiety. The research in this area has largely been conducted comparing Asian American and White American. Generally, it is found that Asian American are more influenced to social anxiety and hence internet use. It can be concluded that an individual’s culture background can affect a person’s social development which can completely to figure out the dimension of social anxiety among the different culture society.
The aim of this study is to investigate whether there are cultural differences in social anxiety and also to determine the relationship between social anxiety and internet use. Social anxiety refers to how excessive emotional discomfort, fear, worry about social situation. Internet use refers internet addiction which causes uncertain use of the internet for online social media for examples social networking sites. Social anxiety is the 3rd common mental health problem in United States. Social anxiety only to identify with a person’s social life but somehow it also affect a person’s routine and an individual’s professional life. This is mainly because a person which he or she faced excessive fear or emotional discomfort in everyday social interactions and evoke extreme anxiety.
Social anxiety also known as social phobia which refer where fear and anxiety being analyse by others, impede in daily routine and results in serious disorder (America Psychiatric Association, 1994). According to Schneider, Younger, Smith, and Freeman (1998), social anxiety refers to identify with variety of negative actions which may affect the quality of life, occupational life, educational attainment and also weaken the between each others. Social anxiety refers to a person’s with sensibility indicate the sensitivity to their thought, feeling and assess reactions of one’s social group (Markus, Kitayama, 1991).
Internet refers as a person on daily routine they use online media for social networking website, electronic mails, chat rooms which to keep their social circles via mass media and provide different social experience rather than face to face conversation with each others (McKenna, Bargh, 2000). Closely related to the concept of internet use is a person who using internet to release their unpleasant moods, and finally become benefits between social and internet provides, which withdrawn symptoms of social and the consequences of a person’s life (Caplan, 2002). According to Shaw and Black (2008), internet use refers excessive controlled behaviours regarding of computer use which involve internet access that may lead to serious disorder.
There are several theoretical analyses exploring the reasons for cultural differences in social anxiety. According to Ho and Lau (2011) self-construal theory, where it is argued that an individual’s cultural background can influence self-construal and social anxiety was associated with higher social anxiety on Asian. According to this theory, the culture differences between Asian American and white American affect the level of independent self-construal and interdependent self-construal (Okazaki, S., 1997). In addition, according to Markus and Kitayama (1991) models, they stated that independent and interdependent self-construals used to explain the cross-culture in the society. They characterised independent held by the Western European and American while interdependent self-construal held by non-Western such as Asian cultures. According to this theory, Markus and Kitayama found that in Western culture, independent self-construal as a key for their development goal and independent self-contrual also of the factor which to regulate a person’s bahviour. In the other hand, non-Western European such as Asian they are more likely have interdependent self-construal because Asian are more distinguished their feeling towards another person. For example, Asian culture may bring out the culture toward to the Asian American which might have highly interdependent self-construal. Thus, an individual with highly interdependent self-construal may face high social anxiety (Okazaki, S., 2007). Self-construal in difference culture may affect an individual’s emotion (Park, I.J.K, Schwartz, S. J., Kim, S. Y., Ham, L. S., 2011). For example, people with higher interdependent self-construal may easily express their emotions compared to independent self-construal people. According to Ho and Lau (2011), they found that Asian American with interdependent self-construal have high social anxiety compared to white American with interdependent self-construal. They found that the interdependent self-construal may take up the liability the symptoms of social anxiety among the Asian America. However, in Norasakkunkit and Kalick (2002) studied, they found that there was inaccurate score on interdependent self-construal mamong the Asian or Asian Americans.
Secondly, is the emotional regulation in differences culture towards social anxiety. According to Kitayama (2004) model, the collective level and individual level are the factors which made emotional regulation to occur. The collective level of a person may affect a person’s behaviour while individual level of person is to regulate the emotion based on the cultural norms. For example, an individual who has a strong interdependent self-construal they tend to put down their emotion while a person who has strong independent self-construal less to suppress emotion. According to Matsumoto (2008), he conducted a study and found that collectives countries people have high social anxiety compared to individualistic countries people. Closely related to this study, an American who showed more Asian values have high possibility to emotional suppression compared to European Americans. According to Heinrichs (2006), he found that collectivistic and individualistic countries have their own social norms and social anxiety. Results found out that emotional suppression is related between social anxiety and self-construal among Asian American college students and a stronger independent self-construal can decrease the level of social symptoms amomg Asian American college studnets (Park, I.J.K, Schwartz, S. J., Kim, S. Y., Ham, L. S., 2011). However, according to Ho and Lau (2011) they found that there is no culture differences between and emotional suppression. Not only Asian American but somehow White American will also have social symptoms due to the low daily mood or low socializing relationship.
In the other hand, there is a relationship between social anxiety and internet use. Negative impact on social networking brings up highly social anxiety among society (Gross, 2004). There is a positive correlation between social anxiety and internet use (Campbell, 2006). Valkenburg and Peter (2009), stated that an individual has higher social anxiety will make internet as a social medium. A researcher had found that when a person is using internet regularly tend to have social anxiety (Shepherd, Edelmann, 2005). However, there is a studied which found that perceptions of the internet more comfortable to socialize as a factor which causes higher social anxiety in online communication compared to communicate with people face-to-face (Erwin, Turk, Heimberg, Fresco, Hantula, 2004). According to Young and Lo (2012), the benefits of internet use may lead to high social anxiety among the society. According to Weidman (2012), he found that an individual showed high social anxiety from social comfort and self-disclosure which a person has low self-esteem in the offline communication. For example, a person who has high social anxiety was expected increases shame and increasing embarrassment with social mistakes. In addition, in Erwin ( 2004) studies, he found out there is a negative and positive effects of internet uses in social anxiety. One of the positive effect is an individual with high social anxiety will spend more time to online to search for a social support. According to Park and Floyd (2005), found that which there is a positive correlation between social support and duration online. The more the time for online, the more social support. Besides, the negative effect from Erwin (2004), one of the reason a person who have high social anxiety spend more time to online and lead to negative evaluation online. This may affect the natural communication, face-to-face communication with each others and it will decrease the chance to talk with others in this society. Online communication might apply for people have high social anxiety because they are more interdependent in online relationship compared to face-to-face communication. In addition, as result an individual has high level of social anxiety have low face-to-face communication but have a good dependence in online relationship. However, according to King and Poulos (2008), a high level of face-to-face communication can against the development of internet uses and decrease the social anxiety among the society (Lee, B. W., Stapinski, L. A., 2011). However, a study found that a person with social anxiety, prefer to have a online relationship because to fulfilment their needs and have a satisfaction feeling from online.
This study reveals that there are cultural differences giving rise to social anxiety of an individual. Generally, research has been conducted comparing Asian American with white American. Research largely concludes that Asian American have highly social anxiety compared to white American. Asian American have high interdependent self-construal which may bring out high social anxiety compared to white American who have independent self-construal which showed low social anxiety among them. In addition, they are relationship between social anxiety and internet use. The beneficial internet use can evoke a person who has high social anxiety to use internet for communication rather than offline communication.