Subtypes of social phobia and comorbidity with depression and other anxiety disorders

J Affect Disord. 1998 Sep;50 Suppl 1:S11-6. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(98)00092-5.


Epidemiological studies have identified two subtypes of social phobia: speaking-only social phobia which is characterized by the fear of public speaking situations and complex social phobia which is characterized by the fear of multiple social situations. Speaking-only social phobia most closely corresponds to the DSM-IV's 'nongeneralized social phobia' while complex social phobia resembles 'generalized social phobia'. In contrast to the speaking-only social phobia, the complex form is usually more disabling, familial and longer-lasting. In addition, the complex form has a lower chance of spontaneous recovery and carries a higher risk of comorbidity and impairment. Overall, both types of social phobia tend to be underdiagnosed and under-treated. Effective treatments which can manage not only complex social phobia, but also its spectrum of comorbid conditions, are required.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / classification
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / classification
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Phobic Disorders / classification
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales