Four types of social phobia in a community sample

J Nerv Ment Dis. 1988 Jul;176(7):440-5. doi: 10.1097/00005053-198807000-00006.


Point prevalence rates and demographic characteristics associated with four specific forms of social phobia (public speaking/performing, writing in front of others, eating in restaurants, and use of public restrooms) were examined in a sample of adult residents of the greater St. Louis area. Diagnoses were determined by structured interview in accordance with DSM-III criteria. An unadjusted prevalence rate of 22.6% was found for all four social phobias combined. Application of DSM-III significant distress criteria resulted in a prevalence rate of 2.0%. Public speaking/performing phobias were by far the most common (20.6%). Prevalence rates of 2.8%, 1.2%, and 0.2% were found for phobias related to writing, eating, and use of public restrooms, respectively. Social phobias were more common among women than men. No other demographic differences were found between social phobics and the rest of the sample. Results of this study suggest a higher prevalence of social phobia than has been indicated by prior research. Explanations for and implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Missouri
  • Phobic Disorders / classification
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Social Environment*
  • Speech
  • Toilet Facilities
  • Writing