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Original Research

Comorbidity and Quality of Life in DSM-5 Social Anxiety Disorder Among a Nationally Representative Sample

Tapan A. Patel, MS; Frederick T. Schubert, BA; and Jesse R. Cougle, PhD

Published: May 27, 2024


Objective: Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a prevalent and debilitating psychiatric disorder that is associated with impairments in functioning and detrimental outcomes such as suicide, poor physical quality of life (QOL), and overall mental health. The goal of the present study was to examine the past year comorbidities of DSM-5 SAD among a large nationally representative sample of US adults (N = 36,309) and to examine correlates of physical QOL and overall mental health among individuals with past-year SAD (N = 980).

Methods: The study utilized data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III to examine diagnostic correlates of SAD as well as how symptoms and features of SAD are related to QOL using survey-weighted regression analyses.

Results: We found that comorbid depression, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder were positively associated with SAD. Further, presence of these disorders was also associated with poorer mental health among those with SAD. We also found that specific feared situations (eg, eating and drinking in public) and social anxiety symptoms (panic attack and avoidance) were linked to both forms of QOL (all ps <0.01).

Conclusion: The present findings highlight that SAD is comorbid with other impairing disorders and that these comorbidities, specific feared situations, and SAD symptoms are related to worse QOL in individuals with SAD.

J Clin Psychiatry 2024;85(2):23m15217

Author affiliations are listed at the end of this article.

Volume: 85

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