Incidence of social phobia and identification of its risk indicators: a model for prevention

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Abstract

Objective

This study seeks to examine the incidence of social phobia in the general population and to establish a number of risk indicators.

Method

Data were derived from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS) which is a population based prospective study (n = 7076). A sample of adults aged 18–64 years (n = 5618) were re-interviewed 1 year later using Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).

Results

The 12-month incidence of DSM-III-R social phobia was 1.0%. Low education, low mastery, low self-esteem, emotional neglect in childhood and ongoing difficulties were found to be risk indicators. After including other mental disorders as risk indicators in the model, the incidence was found to be more common among those with low mastery, major depression, subthreshold social phobia, emotional neglect, negative life events, and low education.

Conclusion

The incidence of social phobia can be predicted relatively well with psychosocial variables and comorbidity.

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