Karlsson B, Sigström R, Waern M, Östling S, Gustafson D, Skoog I. The prognosis and incidence of social phobia in an elderly population. A 5-year follow-up.
Objective: To examine the prognosis and incidence of social fears and phobia in an elderly population sample followed for 5 years.
Method: A general population sample (N = 612) of non-demented men (baseline age 70) and women (baseline age 70 and 78–86) was investigated in 2000–2001 and in 2005–2006 with semi-structured psychiatric examinations including the Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale, and the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Social phobia was diagnosed according to the DSM-IV criteria.
Results: Among nine individuals with DSM-IV social phobia in 2000, 5 (55.6%) had no social fears in 2005, and 1 (11.1%) still met the criteria for DSM-IV social phobia. Among individuals without DSM-IV social phobia in 2000 (N = 603), 12 (2.0%) had DSM-IV social phobia in 2005.
Conclusion: These findings challenge the notion that social phobia is a chronic disorder with rare occurrence in old age.