High Social Anxiety and Poor Quality of Life in Patients With Pulmonary Tuberculosis

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Pulmonary tuberculosis (PT) has been previously related with various psychosocial adverse consequences including stigmatization and social isolation.

Social anxiety is a psychiatric condition that may be associated with social isolation and fear of social exclusion.

To date no study has investigated social anxiety and its impact on quality of life (QoL) among patients with PT. Therefore, we aimed to determine the severity of social anxiety in a group of patients with PT.

Among patients who were recently discharged from hospital with the diagnosis of PT 94 patients and 99 healthy control subjects who had similar demographical features have been included in the study. A psychiatrist interviewed all participants and a semistructured interview form, which was prepared by the authors, Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), and Short Form-36 were administered to them.

Patients with PT showed higher levels of performance avoidance and social avoidance than healthy control subjects. They reported lower QoL scores across all dimensions. Among patients women showed higher levels of LSAS subscale scores and total score. Fear of social exclusion was predicted by perceived illness severity and emotional role difficulty. On the other hand, perceived illness severity was predicted by fear of exclusion and sedimentation level.

PT patients seem to experience higher levels of social anxiety and associated fear of social exclusion that add to their worse QoL during the earlier months of their disease. Among them fear of social exclusion is related with perceived illness severity.

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