Social Anxiety, Depression, Coping Self-Efficacy, and Coping Strategies among College Students




college students, social anxiety, depression, coping self-efficacy, coping strategies


The transition to college and its associated social challenges could trigger social anxiety and depression among young college students. There is a paucity of literature relating coping self-efficacy, coping strategies, social anxiety and depression. The current study aims to fill this gap by finding the contributions of gender, coping self-efficacy (CSE), and coping strategies onto the levels of social anxiety and depression among college students. It also aims to find race-ethnicity differences, considering students’ level of social anxiety and depression. One hundred and fifty-eight students were recruited from the undergraduate psychology subject pool at a northeastern university. The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, Diagnostic Inventory for Depression, Coping Self-Efficacy Scale and Brief COPE were used to measure the study variables. A one-way ANOVA and simultaneous multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to examine data. There were no significant race-ethnicity differences in social anxiety, depressive symptom severity, psychosocial impairment, and quality of life. However, gender and self-blame significantly predicted social anxiety; substance use, behavioral disengagement, and self-blame significantly predicted depressive symptom severity; and social support CSE significantly predicted psychosocial impairment. Gender, dysfunctional coping strategies and social-support CSE were significantly associated with social anxiety and depression among college students. The results have important implications for treatment intervention and outreach by college counseling personnel.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Madhuri Dugyala

Counseling and Psychological Services
Indiana University Bloomington, USA
ORCID: 0000-0001-9804-6813

Senel Poyrazli

Professor of Counseling Psychology
Social Sciences and Psychology
Penn State Harrisburg, USA
ORCID: 0000-0003-3210-8991


Aalto-Setälä, Terhi, Mauri Marttunen, Annamari Tuulio-Henriksson, Kari Poikolainen, and Jouko Lönnqvist. “Psychiatric treatment seeking and psychosocial impairment among young adults with depression.” Journal of Affective Disorders, 70 (1) (2002): 35-47. doi:10.1016/S0165-0327(01)00316-0

Abdel-Khalek, A. “Quality of life, anxiety, and depression: Negative associations in college students.” Journal of Affective Disorders, 122 (1) (2010): S54. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2010.02.060

Active Minds. “April 2020 Survey Data”. 2020. Retrieved from

American Psychiatric Association, DSM-5 Task Force. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5™ (5th ed.). Arlington: VA, USA 2013.

Amiri, Akram, Aliakbar Saif, Hasan Ahadi, and Fariborz Bagheri. “Investigating the relationship between different dimensions of social problem solving and problem-focused coping styles.” European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences, 4 (1) (2015): 203-210.

Asher, Maya, & Aderka, Idan M. “Gender differences in social anxiety disorder”. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 74(10) (2018): 1730-1741.doi:10.1002/jclp.22624

Beard, Courtney, Benjamin F. Rodriguez, Ethan Moitra, Nicholas J. Sibrava, Andri Bjornsson, Risa B. Weisberg, and Martin B. Keller. “Psychometric properties of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) in a longitudinal study of African Americans with anxiety disorders.” Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25 (5) (2011): 722-726. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2011.03.009

Belzer, Kenneth, and Franklin R. Schneier. “Comorbidity of anxiety and depressive disorders: issues in conceptualization, assessment, and treatment.” Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 10 (5) (2004): 296-306. doi:10.1097/00131746-200409000-00003

Boggiano, Ann K., and Marty Barrett. “Gender differences in depression in college students.” Sex Roles, 25 (11-12) (1991): 595-605. doi:10.1007/BF00289566

Bonsaksen, Tore. “Exploring gender differences in quality of life”. Mental Health Review Journal, 17(1) (2012), 39-49. doi:10.1108/13619321211231815

Cabras, Cristina and Marina Mondo. “Coping strategies, optimism, and life satisfaction among first-year university students in Italy: Gender and age differences”. Higher Education, 75(4) (2018), 643-654. doi:10.1007/s10734-017-0161-x

Carver, Charles S. “You want to measure coping but your protocol’s too long: Consider the brief cope.” International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 4 (1) (1997): 92-100.

Chapman, Paula L., and Ronald L. Mullis. “Racial differences in adolescent coping and self-esteem.” The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 161 (2) (2000): 152-160. doi:10.1080/00221320009596702

Chartier, Mariette J., John R. Walker, and Murray B. Stein. “Considering comorbidity in social phobia.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 38 (12) (2003): 728-734. doi:10.1007/s00127-003-0720-6

Chesney, Margaret A., Torsten B. Neilands, Donald B. Chambers, Jonelle M. Taylor, and Susan Folkman. “A validity and reliability study of the coping self‐efficacy scale.” British Journal of Health Psychology, 11 (3) (2006): 421-437. doi:10.1348/135910705X53155

Cobb, Cory L., Dong Xie, and Gardiner L. Sanders. “Coping styles and depression among undocumented Hispanic immigrants.” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 18 (4) (2016): 864-870. doi:

Coles, Meredith E., Shannon L. Coleman, and Jessica Schubert. “College students’ recommendations for dealing with anxiety disorders.” International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 17 (2) (2015): 68-77. doi:10.1080/14623730.2015.1005969

Colodro, H., D. Godoy-Izquierdo, and J. Godoy. “Coping self-efficacy in a community-based sample of women and men from the United Kingdom: The impact of sex and health status.” Behavioral Medicine, 36 (1) (2010): 12-23. doi:10.1080/08964280903521362

Cooper, Claudia, Cornelius Katona, and Gill Livingston. “Validity and reliability of the brief COPE in carers of people with dementia: the LASER-AD Study.” The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 196 (11) (2008): 838-843. doi:10.1097/NMD.0b013e31818b504c

Cooper, Claudia, Cornelius Katona, Martin Orrell, and Gill Livingston. “Coping strategies, anxiety and depression in caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease.” International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry: A Journal of the Psychiatry of Late Life and Allied Sciences, 23 (9) (2008): 929-936. doi:

Cronqvist, Agneta, B. Klang, and H. Bjorvell. “The use and efficacy of coping strategies and coping styles in a Swedish sample.” Quality of Life Research, 6 (1) (1997): 87-96. doi:10.1023/A:1026425730325

Dalrymple, Kristy L., and Mark Zimmerman. “Does comorbid social anxiety disorder impact the clinical presentation of principal major depressive disorder?.” Journal of Affective Disorders, 100 (1-3) (2007): 241-247. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2006.10.014

Dixon, Sarah K., and Sharon E. Robinson Kurpius. “Depression and college stress among university undergraduates: Do mattering and self-esteem make a difference?.” Journal of College Student Development, 49 (5) (2008): 412-424.

Dryman, M. Taylor, Shani Gardner, Justin W. Weeks, and Richard G. Heimberg. “Social anxiety disorder and quality of life: How fears of negative and positive evaluation relate to specific domains of life satisfaction.” Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 38 (2016): 1-8. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2015.12.003

Ezarik, Melissa. “Students struggle but don’t seek colleges’ help”. Inside Higher Ed. 2021. Retrieved from

Garcia-Lopez, Luis-Joaquin, Natalia Bonilla, and Jose-Antonio Muela-Martinez. “Considering comorbidity in adolescents with social anxiety disorder.” Psychiatry Investigation, 13 (5) (2016): 574-576. doi:10.4306/pi.2016.13.5.574

Gore-Felton, Cheryl, Cheryl Koopman, David Spiegel, Mark Vosvick, Michael Brondino, and April Winningham. “Effects of quality of life and coping on depression among adults living with HIV/AIDS.” Journal of Health Psychology, 11 (5) (2006): 711-729. doi:

Grant, Bridget F., Deborah S. Hasin, Carlos Blanco, Frederick S. Stinson, S. Patricia Chou, Rise B. Goldstein, Deborah A. Dawson, Sharon Smith, Tulshi D. Saha, and Boji Huang. “The epidemiology of social anxiety disorder in the United States: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.” The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 66 (11) (2005): 1351-1361. doi:10.4088/JCP.v66n1102

Grant, DeMond M., Matt R. Judah, Adam C. Mills, William V. Lechner, Collin L. Davidson, and LaRicka R. Wingate. “Rumination and excessive reassurance seeking: Mediators of the relationship between social anxiety and depression?.” Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 36 (3) (2014): 465-474. doi:10.1007/s10862-013-9399-5

Hakami, Ramzi M., Mohamed S. Mahfouz, Abdulrahman M. Adawi, Adeebah J. Mahha, Alaa J. Athathi, Hadi H. Daghreeri, Hatim H. Najmi, and Nuha A. Areeshi. “Social anxiety disorder and its impact in undergraduate students at Jazan University, Saudi Arabia.” Mental Illness, 9(2) (2017): 42-47.

Heimberg, Richard G., K. J. Horner, H. R. Juster, S. A. Safren, E. J. Brown, F. R. Schneier, and M. R. Liebowitz. “Psychometric properties of the Liebowitz social anxiety scale.” Psychological Medicine, 29 (1) (1999): 199-212. doi:10.1017/S0033291798007879

Herman, Steve, Olga G. Archambeau, Aimee N. Deliramich, Bryan SK Kim, Pearl H. Chiu, and B. Christopher Frueh. “Depressive symptoms and mental health treatment in an ethnoracially diverse college student sample.” Journal of American College Health, 59 (8) (2011): 715-720. doi:10.1080/07448481.2010.529625

Hofmann, Stefan G., M. A. Anu Asnaani, and Devon E. Hinton. “Cultural aspects in social anxiety and social anxiety disorder.” Depression and Anxiety, 27 (12) (2010): 1117-1127. doi:10.1002/da.20759

Hu, Chun-feng, Wu Li, De-ming Zheng, and Long-fei Li. “The relationship between the severity of depression and cognitive coping strategies in patients with depressive episode.” Global Journal of Psychological Research, 1 (1) (2013): 1-5. doi:10.14725/gjpr.v1n1a180

Ibrahim, Ahmed K., Shona J. Kelly, Clive E. Adams, and Cris Glazebrook. “A systematic review of studies of depression prevalence in university students.” Journal of Psychiatric Research, 47 (3) (2013): 391-400. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.11.015

Joiner, Thomas E., and Janice A. Blalock. “Gender differences in depression: The role of anxiety and generalized negative affect.” Sex Roles, 33 (1-2) (1995): 91-108. doi:10.1007/BF01547937

Kessler, Ronald C., Paul Stang, H-U. Wittchen, Murray Stein, and Ellen E. Walters. “Lifetime co-morbidities between social phobia and mood disorders in the US National Comorbidity Survey.” Psychological Medicine, 29 (3) (1999): 555-567. doi:10.1017/S0033291799008375

Kroshus, Emily, Matt Hawrilenko, and Anne Browning. “Stress, self-compassion, and well-being during the transition to college.” Social Science & Medicine, 269 (2021): 113514.

Kwasky, Andrea N., and Carla J. Groh. “Vitamin D, depression and coping self-efficacy in young women: Longitudinal study.” Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 28 (6) (2014): 362-367. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2014.08.010

Lesure-Lester, G. Evelyn, and Nancy King. “Racial-ethnic differences in social anxiety among college students.” Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 6 (3) (2004): 359-367. doi:10.2190/P5FR-CGAH-YHA4-1DYC

Liebowitz, Michael R. “Social phobia.” Modern Problems of Pharmacopsychiatry, 22 (1987): 141-173.

Luna, Naelys, and Thalia MacMillan. “The relationship between spirituality and depressive symptom severity, psychosocial functioning impairment, and quality of life: Examining the impact of age, gender, and ethnic differences.” Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 18 (6) (2015): 513-525. doi:10.1080/13674676.2015.1087481

Lund, Terese J., Pauline Chan, and Belle Liang. “Depression and relational health in Asian American and European American college women.” Psychology in the Schools, 51 (5) (2014): 493-505. doi:10.1002/pits.21758

Lyrakos, Dimitrios G. “The impact of stress, social support, self-efficacy and coping on university students, a multicultural European study.” Psychology, 3 (2) (2012): 143-149. doi:10.4236/psych.2012.32022

MacKenzie, Meagan B., and Ken F. Fowler. “Social anxiety disorder in the Canadian population: Exploring gender differences in sociodemographic profile.” Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 27 (4) (2013): 427-434. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.05.006

MacNeil, Laura, Christianne Esposito-Smythers, Robyn Mehlenbeck, and Julie Weismoore. “The effects of avoidance coping and coping self-efficacy on eating disorder attitudes and behaviors: A stress-diathesis model.” Eating Behaviors, 13 (4) (2012): 293-296. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2012.06.005

Moitra, Ethan, Courtney Beard, Risa B. Weisberg, and Martin B. Keller. “Occupational impairment and social anxiety disorder in a sample of primary care patients.” Journal of Affective Disorders, 130 (1-2) (2011): 209-212. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2010.09.024

Morrison, Val, and Paul Bennett. An Introduction to Health Psychology. Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2006.

Norberg, Melissa M., Alice R. Norton, Jake Olivier, and Michael J. Zvolensky. “Social anxiety, reasons for drinking, and college students.” Behavior Therapy, 41 (4) (2010): 555-566. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2010.03.002

Ohayon, Maurice M., and Alan F. Schatzberg. “Social phobia and depression: prevalence and comorbidity.” Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 68 (3) (2010): 235-243. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2009.07.18

Olatunji, Bunmi O., Josh M. Cisler, and David F. Tolin. “Quality of life in the anxiety disorders: a meta-analytic review.” Clinical Psychology Review, 27 (5) (2007): 572-581. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2007.01.015

Öngen, Demet. “The relationships between coping strategies and depression among Turkish adolescents.” Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 34 (2) (2006): 181-196. doi:10.2224/sbp.2006.34.2.181

Park, Hyun-joo, P. Paul Heppner, and Dong-gwi Lee. “Maladaptive coping and self-esteem as mediators between perfectionism and psychological distress.” Personality and Individual Differences, 48 (4) (2010): 469-474. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2009.11.024

Philip, Errol J., Thomas V. Merluzzi, Zhiyong Zhang, and Carolyn A. Heitzmann. “Depression and cancer survivorship: importance of coping self‐efficacy in post‐treatment survivors.” Psycho‐Oncology, 22 (5) (2013): 987-994. doi:10.1002/pon.3088

Rapp, Amy M., Anna Lau, and Denise A. Chavira. “Differential associations between social anxiety disorder, family cohesion, and suicidality across racial/ethnic groups: Findings from the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent (NCS-A).” Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 48 (2017): 13-21. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2016.09.009

Sam, Aaseer Thamby, Bharathi Muttusamy, Sum Mun Yee, Thineswary Ayapanaido, and Subramani Parasuraman. “Investigation of stressors affecting a sample of pharmacy students and the coping strategies employed using modified academic stressors scale and brief cope scale: A prospective study.” Journal of Young Pharmacists, 8 (2) (2016): 122 -127. doi:10.5530/jyp.2016.2.12

Sarafino, Edward P., and Timothy W. Smith. Health psychology: Biopsychosocial interactions. (Seventh ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2014.

Sheu, Hung-Bin, and William H. Sedlacek. “An exploratory study of help-seeking attitudes and coping strategies among college students by race and gender.” Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 37 (3) (2004): 130-143. doi:

Smeets, Elke, Kristin Neff, Hugo Alberts, and Madelon Peters. “Meeting suffering with kindness: Effects of a brief self‐compassion intervention for female college students.” Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70 (9) (2014): 794-807.

Soysa, Champika K., and Carolyn J. Wilcomb. “Mindfulness, self-compassion, self-efficacy, and gender as predictors of depression, anxiety, stress, and well-being.” Mindfulness, 6 (2) (2015): 217-226.

Spendelow, Jason S. “Men’s self-reported coping strategies for depression: A systematic review of qualitative studies.” Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 16 (4) (2015): 439-447. doi:10.1037/a0038626

Ștefan, Catrinel A., Călin Căpraru, and Melinda Szilágyi. “Investigating effects and mechanisms of a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention in a sample of college students at risk for social anxiety.” Mindfulness, 9 (5) (2018): 1509-1521.

Stein, Murray B., and Dan J. Stein. “Social anxiety disorder.” The Lancet, 371 (9618) (2008): 1115-1125. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60488-2

Sturrock, Bonnie A., Jing Xie, Edith E. Holloway, Mark Hegel, Robin Casten, David Mellor, Eva Fenwick, and Gwyneth Rees. “Illness cognitions and coping self-efficacy in depression among persons with low vision.” Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 57 (7) (2016): 3032-3038. doi:10.1167/iovs.16-19110

Sümer, Seda, Senel Poyrazli, and Kamini Grahame. “Predictors of depression and anxiety among international students.” Journal of Counseling & Development, 86 (4) (2008): 429-437. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6678.2008.tb00531.x

Terlecki, Meredith A., and Julia D. Buckner. “Social anxiety and heavy situational drinking: Coping and conformity motives as multiple mediators.” Addictive Behaviors, 40 (2015): 77-83. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.09.008

Thomasson, Petra, and Elia Psouni. “Social anxiety and related social impairment are linked to self‐efficacy and dysfunctional coping.” Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 51 (2) (2010): 171-178. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.2009.00731.x

Villatte, Aude, Diane Marcotte, and Alexandra Potvin. “Correlates of Depression in First-Year College Students.” Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 47 (1) (2017): 114-136.

Watson, Joshua C., and April A. Watson. “Coping self‐efficacy and academic stress among Hispanic first‐year college students: The moderating role of emotional intelligence.” Journal of College Counseling, 19 (3) (2016): 218-230. doi:10.1002/jocc.12045

Wright, Mark, Robin Banerjee, Willemijn Hoek, Carolien Rieffe, and Sheida Novin. “Depression and social anxiety in children: Differential links with coping strategies.” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38 (3) (2010): 405-419. doi:10.1007/s10802-009-9375-4

Xu, Yang, Franklin Schneier, Richard G. Heimberg, Katherine Princisvalle, Michael R. Liebowitz, Shuai Wang, and Carlos Blanco. “Gender differences in social anxiety disorder: Results from the national epidemiologic sample on alcohol and related conditions.” Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26 (1) (2012): 12-19. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2011.08.006

Zhang, Wei, Kun Li, XiuMin Zhang, and Li Chen. “Coping self-efficacy of Chinese nursing undergraduates with their research projects.” Nurse Education Today, 45 (2016): 126-131. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2016.07.003

Zhang, Xiaofeng, and Pingping Zhao. “The study on the relations among perfectionism & coping style & interpersonal relationship of university students.” Asian Social Science, 6 (1) (2010): 145-151. doi:10.5539/ass.v6n1p145

Ziarko, Michal, Ewa Mojs, Bartosz Piasecki, and Wlodzimierz Samborski. “The mediating role of dysfunctional coping in the relationship between beliefs about the disease and the level of depression in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.” The Scientific World Journal, 2014 (2014): 1-6. doi:10.1155/2014/585063

Zimmerman, Mark, Thomas Sheeran, and Diane Young. “The Diagnostic Inventory for Depression: a self‐report scale to diagnose DSM‐IV major depressive disorder.” Journal of Clinical Psychology, 60 (1) (2004): 87-110. doi:10.1002/jclp.10207

Additional Files



How to Cite

Dugyala, M. ., & Poyrazli, S. . (2021). Social Anxiety, Depression, Coping Self-Efficacy, and Coping Strategies among College Students. Psycho-Educational Research Reviews, 10(3), 411–425.