Psychiatry Investig Search


Psychiatry Investig > Epub ahead of print
[Epub ahead of print]
DOI:    Published online October 11, 2018.
The Relationship between Plasma Oxytocin Levels and Social Anxiety Symptoms
Kang-Seob Oh1, Eun-Jin Kim2, Ju-Won Ha3, Hee-Yeon Woo4, Min-Jung Kwon4, Dong-Won Shin1, Young-Chul Shin1,2, Se-Won Lim1,2
1Department of Psychiatry, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
2Workplace Mental Health Institute, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
3Yonsei Forest Mental Health Clinic, Seoul, Republic of Korea
4Department of Laboratory Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Correspondence: Se-Won Lim ,Tel: +82-2-2001-2591, Fax: +82-2-2001-2211, Email:
Received: June 23, 2017   Revised: June 8, 2018   Accepted: August 31, 2018   Published online: October 11, 2018

The pathophysiology of social anxiety disorder (SAD) is not yet well understood, but previous research has suggested that oxytocin is associated with social behavior and may play a role in human anxiety states and anxiety-related traits. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible relationship between social anxiety symptoms and plasma oxytocin levels.
Twenty-three male patients with SAD and 28 healthy male controls participated in this study. All participants were assessed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) and the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS). Multivariate regression analysis was performed to identify associations between plasma oxytocin levels and SAD.
In multiple regression models, after controlling for age and years of education, we found that higher oxytocin levels were significantly associated with higher total LSAS scores (R2 =0.157, coefficient=0.145, 95% CI=-0.0005–0.291, p=0.051) and fear subscale scores (R2 =0.134, coefficient=0.083, 95% CI=0.007–0.159, p=0.034) in the SAD group.
In this study, increased plasma oxytocin levels were associated with higher social anxiety symptoms among SAD patients, but not among controls. This might be because among SAD patients, higher oxytocin (OT) secretion is an insufficient compensatory attempt to reduce social anxiety symptoms.
Key words   Social anxiety disorder, Oxytocin, Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, Fear, Avoidance


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