Size and burden of social phobia in Europe

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2005 Aug;15(4):453-62. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2005.04.002.


This paper provides a critical review of the prevalence of social phobia in European countries, a description of associated disability and burden and of clinical correlates and risk factors associated with social phobia. On the basis of a comprehensive literature search we identified 21 community studies and two primary care studies. The median lifetime and 12-month prevalence rates of social phobia in community samples referring to DSM-III-R and DSM-IV criteria were 6.65% and 2.0%, respectively. Younger individuals showed the highest rates, and women were more frequently affected than men. Social phobia was shown to be a persistent condition with a remarkably high degree of comorbid conditions, associated impairment and disability. Research deficits lie in a lack of data for most EU countries and in a lack of studies in children and the elderly. No data are available addressing met and unmet needs for intervention and costs, and data for vulnerability and risk factors of malignant course are scarce.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / economics*
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors