Epidemiology of Social Phobia in Later Life

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Abstract

Objective:

Although anxiety disorders, including social phobia (SP), are common among older adults, very little is known about the epidemiology of SP in later life.

Method:

Using data drawn from a large, nationally representative sample of older adults from Canada (N = 12,792), the authors estimate lifetime and 12-month prevalence of social phobia and examine demographic predictors and patterns of comorbidity of current SP in this population.

Results:

The results reveal that SP is a prevalent disorder in later life with lifetime and 12-month prevalence estimates of 4.94% and 1.32%, respectively. Current SP (12-month) declines with age and is more common in individuals with other psychiatric disorders. Interestingly, there is no correlation between current SP and gender, marital status, or socioeconomic status.

Conclusions:

SP remains a highly prevalent disorder even in late life with the pattern of feared/avoided situations being strikingly similar to that of younger populations.

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