Objective: This study examined the effect of the expressed emotion (EE) ‘criticism’, as perceived by the recipient, on the development of social phobia symptoms in a large sample of adolescents from the general population. Method: A total of 2290 high school students participated in this study. They completed the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED) and the Level of Expressed Emotion (LEE) questionnaire. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate the effect of perceived criticism on social phobia symptoms and to investigate the moderation effect of gender and age. Results: Regression analyses demonstrated that social phobia symptoms were not being amplified by perceived criticism. The effect does not differ between boys and girls, but it differs between several age groups. The moderation effect of age includes that perceived criticism leads to less social phobia symptoms in older adolescents. Conclusions: This study does not extend the expectation that perceived criticism amplifies social phobia in adolescents. The results of this study emphasize the importance of future research in the experience of adolescents and their relationship with psychopathology
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