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Keywords:

  • anxiety disorders;
  • phobic disorders

Neufeld KJ, Swartz KL, Bienvenu OJ, Eaton WW, Cai G. Incidence of DISIDSM-IV social phobia in adults. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1999: 100: 186–192. © Munksgaard 1999.

Objective: The aim of the study was to estimate the incidence of social phobia in the general population.

Method: The Baltimore cohort of 3481 subjects, sampled during the 1981 Epidemiologic Catchment Area study, was traced. A total of 1920 subjects were re-interviewed from 1993 to 1996 using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS). A subsample of 349 subjects was interviewed by psychiatrists using the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry.

Results: The estimated incidence of DIS/DSM-IV social phobia is 4–5/1000/year. New cases were found in all age groups, with the highest rates in subjects with baseline depressive and panic disorders. Psychiatric evaluations showed broad diagnostic concordance with DIS diagnoses in incident cases. However, validity indices were highly dependent on diagnostic thresholds. None of the psychiatrist-ascertained social phobics had received treatment for the disorder, although the majority were considered likely to benefit from treatment.

Conclusion: New cases of social phobia occur in adults of all age groups, and are often secondary to other psychiatric conditions.