Anxiety symptoms among adolescents in Japan and England: Their relationship with self-construals and social support

Cecilia A. Essau, Shin Ichi Ishikawa, Satoko Sasagawa, Hiroshi Sato, Isa Okajima, Kanako Otsui, George A. Georgiou, Jean O'Callaghan, Frances Michie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Most of our knowledge about anxiety in adolescents has come from studies conducted in Western countries. Little is known about the extent to which these results can be generalized to those who live in other cultures. The main aim of this study was to compare the frequency and correlates of anxiety symptoms among adolescents in Japan and England. Method: A total of 689 adolescents (338 from England and 351 from Japan), aged 12-17 years, took part in this research. They completed a set of questionnaires which were used to measure DSM-IV anxiety disorder symptoms, general difficulties and positive attributes, self-construals, and social support. Results: Adolescents in England reported significantly higher levels of anxiety symptoms than adolescents in Japan. In both countries, independent self-construal was negatively associated with anxiety symptoms, while interdependent self-construal was positively associated with anxiety. However, the magnitude of this relationship was stronger for independent self-construal than the interdependent self-construal. Path analysis showed that the effect of interdependent self-construal seemed to be weaker in Japan than in England. Conclusion: Future studies need to explore the effects of cultural context and environmental experiences such as the role of parenting styles that account for the higher levels of anxiety in English compared with Japanese adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-518
Number of pages10
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety symptoms
  • Cross-cultural comparison
  • Self-construals
  • Social support
  • Spence children's anxiety scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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