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Social phobia in the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being (NSMHWB)

  • L. LAMPE (a1), T. SLADE (a1), C. ISSAKIDIS (a1) and G. ANDREWS (a1)

Background. This article reports data on social phobia from the first large scale Australian epidemiological study. Prevalence rates, demographic correlates and co-morbidity in the sample that met criteria for social phobia are reported and gender differences examined.

Method. Data were obtained from a stratified sample of 10641 participants as part of the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being (NSMHWB). A modified version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was used to determine the presence of social phobia, as well as other DSM-IV anxiety, affective and substance use disorders. The interview also screened for the presence of nine ICD-10 personality disorders, including anxious personality disorder, the equivalent of DSM-IV avoidant personality disorder (APD).

Results. The estimated 12 month prevalence of social phobia was 2·3%, lower than rates reported in several recent nationally representative epidemiological surveys and closer to those reported in the Epidemiological Catchment Area study (ECA) and other DSM-III studies. Considerable co-morbidity was identified. Data indicated that the co-morbidity with depression and alcohol abuse and dependence were generally subsequent to onset of social phobia and that the additional diagnosis of APD was associated with a greater burden of affective disorder. Social phobia most often preceded major depression, alcohol abuse and generalized anxiety disorder.

Conclusions. Social phobia is a highly prevalent, highly co-morbid disorder in the Australian community. Individuals with social phobia who also screen positively for APD appear to be at greater risk of co-morbidity with all surveyed disorders except alcohol abuse or dependence.

Corresponding author
Dr L. Lampe, Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety Disorders, 299 Forbes Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia.
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Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
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