CHARACTERISTICS AND PREDICTORS OF SOCIAL PHOBIA COURSE IN A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF PRIMARY-CARE PATIENTS


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Abstract

Background:Social Phobia (SP) is a prevalent disorder in primary-care settings. To date, few researchers have examined the natural course of SP in primary care. We examined the natural course and predictors of recovery in a large sample of primary-care patients.Methods:Data are obtained from the Primary Care Anxiety Project, a naturalistic, longitudinal study of anxiety disorders in primary-care patients. This report pertains to 182 patients with SP at intake. We examined intake demographic and clinical variables as predictors of recovery within the 5 years of follow-up.Results:The probability of recovery from SP during the 5-year follow-up period was .40. At intake, a longer duration of SP episode, comorbid Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia, and lower psychosocial functioning predicted lower rates of recovery.Conclusions:These findings highlight the chronicity of SP, as well as factors that may affect its naturalistic course. It is imperative that primary-care physicians and mental health specialists assess for and treat SP in their practices. Future research is warranted to further examine the effect of medical and psychiatric comorbidity on SP course.

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