Students’ interaction anxiety and social phobia in interprofessional education in Hong Kong: mapping a new research direction

Fraide A. Ganotice*, Xiaoai Shen, Jacqueline Kwan Yuk Yuen, Yin Man Amy Chow, Anita M.Y. Wong, Karen M.K. Chan, Binbin Zheng, Linda Chan, Pauline Yeung Ng, Siu Chung Leung, Elizabeth Barrett, Hoi Yan Celia Chan, Wing Nga Chan, Kit Wa Sherry Chan, Siu Ling Polly Chan, So Ching Sarah Chan, Esther W.Y. Chan, Yuet Ying Jessica Cheuk, Jacky Choy, Qing HeJulienne Jen, Jingwen Jin, Ui Soon Khoo, Ho Yan Angie Lam, May P.S. Lam, Yik Wa Law, Jetty Chung Yung Lee, Feona Chung Yin Leung, Ann Leung, Rebecca K.W. Liu, Vivian Wei Qun Lou, Pauline Luk, Zoe Lai Han Ng, Alina Yee Man Ng, Maggie Wai Ming Pun, Mary Lok Man See, Jiangang Shen, Grace Pui Yuk Szeto, Eliza Y.T. Tam, Winnie Wan Yee Tso, Ning Wang, Runjia Wang, Janet Kit Ting Wong, Janet Yuen Ha Wong, Grace Wai Yee Yuen, George Lim Tipoe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Interprofessional education (IPE) has been promoted as a breakthrough in healthcare because of the impact when professionals work as a team. However, despite its inception dating back to the 1960s, its science has taken a long time to advance. There is a need to theorize IPE to cultivate creative insights for a nuanced understanding of IPE. This study aims to propose a research agenda on social interaction by understanding the measurement scales used and guiding researchers to contribute to the discussion of social processes in IPE. Method: This quantitative research was undertaken in a cross-institutional IPE involving 925 healthcare students (Medicine, Nursing, Social Work, Chinese Medicine, Pharmacy, Speech Language Pathology, Clinical Psychology, Food and Nutritional Science and Physiotherapy) from two institutions in Hong Kong. Participants completed the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS-6) and Social Phobia Scale (SPS-6). We applied a construct validation approach: within-network and between-network validation. We performed confirmatory factors analysis, t-test, analysis of variance and regression analysis. Results: CFA results indicated that current data fit the a priori model providing support to within-network validity [RMSEA=.08, NFI=.959, CFI=.965, IFI=.965, TLI=.955]. The criteria for acceptable fit were met. The scales were invariant between genders, across year levels and disciplines. Results indicated that social interaction anxiety and social phobia negatively predicted behavioural engagement (F = 25.093, p<.001, R 2=.065) and positively predicted behavioural disaffection (F = 22.169, p<.001, R 2=.057) to IPE, suggesting between-network validity. Conclusions: Our data provided support for the validity of the scales when used among healthcare students in Hong Kong. SIAS-6 and SPS-6 have sound psychometric properties based on students’ data in Hong Kong. We identified quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research designs to guide researchers in getting involved in the discussion of students’ social interactions in IPE.Key Messages The Social Anxiety Scale (SIAS-6) and Social Phobia Scale (SPS-6) scales have sound psychometric properties based on the large-scale healthcare students’ data in IPE in Hong Kong. Social interaction anxiety and social phobia negatively predicted students’ behavioural engagement with IPE and positively predicted behavioural disaffection. The scales are invariant in terms of gender, year level and discipline. Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods studies are proposed to aid researchers to contribute in healthcare education literature using the SIAS-6 and SPS-6.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2210842
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Construct validation
  • interprofessional education
  • social interaction anxiety


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