Epidemiology of Social Phobia in Later Life

Cairney, J. and McCabe, L. and Veldhuizen, S. and Corna, Laurie and Streiner, D.L. and Herrmann, N. (2007) Epidemiology of Social Phobia in Later Life. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 15 (3). pp. 224-233.

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Objective Although anxiety disorders, including social phobia (SP), are common among older adults, very little is known about the epidemiology of SP in later life. Method Using data drawn from a large, nationally representative sample of older adults from Canada (N = 12,792), the authors estimate lifetime and 12-month prevalence of social phobia and examine demographic predictors and patterns of comorbidity of current SP in this population. Results The results reveal that SP is a prevalent disorder in later life with lifetime and 12-month prevalence estimates of 4.94% and 1.32%, respectively. Current SP (12-month) declines with age and is more common in individuals with other psychiatric disorders. Interestingly, there is no correlation between current SP and gender, marital status, or socioeconomic status. Conclusions SP remains a highly prevalent disorder even in late life with the pattern of feared/avoided situations being strikingly similar to that of younger populations.

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