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Keywords:

  • social phobia;
  • prevalence;
  • psychiatric disorder;
  • comorbidity;
  • Iran

Abstract

This study explored the prevalence of social phobia (SP) in the general population of Iran, the sociodemographic characteristics of subjects with SP, and its comorbidity with the other lifetime psychiatric disorders. Our study was part of the nationwide study on the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in Iran. Overall, 25,180 Iranian subjects, age 18 years and over, from urban and rural areas of Iran were selected by a clustered random sampling method and interviewed face-to-face by 250 trained clinical psychologists using DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. Out of 12,398,235 households, 7,795 households in the form of 1,559 clusters of five households were selected. The statistical framework was based on the household lists available from the Department of Health in the provinces. The response rate was 90%. The lifetime prevalence of SP was 0.82%. The rate was 0.4% in males and 1.3% in females. The rate was higher in younger age groups and widows/widowers. It was not related to educational level and residential area. Specific phobia (66.7%), obsessive–compulsive disorder (17.4%), major depressive disorder (15%), and panic disorder (12.1%) were the most common lifetime psychiatric disorders among subjects with SP. The rate of SP in Iran is more similar to that in other Asian countries, and it is lower than that in Western countries. The rate of other psychiatric disorders among subjects with SP is more than that in the general population, and the most common psychiatric disorders were the other anxiety disorders and major depressive disorder. Depression and Anxiety 23:405–411, 2006 © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.