The role of social isolation in social anxiety disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Anxiety Disord. 2013 May;27(4):353-64. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.03.010. Epub 2013 Apr 16.


Introduction: Social isolation in the context of social anxiety disorder has not been closely examined. This study aimed to describe the role and measurement of social isolation in those with social anxiety disorder.

Method: A systematic review and meta-analyses were conducted using a prospectively prepared protocol for search strategy, selection criteria, and data extraction. DerSimonian-Laird random effects models were used to calculate pooled estimates of effect.

Results: Thirty-four studies, containing 20 formal instruments and four other measures of social isolation, were included. Most formal instruments were utilized in single studies, whereas simple structural measures (e.g., living alone) were used most frequently. The pooled score was 38.1 on the Loneliness and Social Dissatisfaction Questionnaire, 33.1 on the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (avoidance subscale), and 21.1 on the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale.

Conclusions: Social isolation is common in social anxiety disorder but assessed by a heterogeneous mix of measures.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Marital Status
  • Phobic Disorders / etiology
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychological Tests
  • Social Isolation / psychology*