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Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2005 Mar;27(1):32-6. Epub 2005 Apr 18.

Early-onset social anxiety disorder in adults: clinical and therapeutic features.

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Institute of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



To investigate possible differences in clinical and treatment response in patients suffering from early-onset (< 18 years) and late-onset (> or =18 years) social anxiety disorder.


Patients diagnosed with social anxiety disorder of early-onset (n = 47; 75.8%) were compared to those diagnosed with late-onset social anxiety disorder (n = 15; 24.2%) in terms of age, mode of onset, subtype, psychiatric comorbidities (according to the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV), symptom severity and response (assessed according to the Clinical Global Impression scale) after at least ten weeks of drug treatment. The statistical analyses included chi2 tests with Yates correction or Fisher's exact test, as well as Student's t-test or Mann-Whitney test. The level of statistic significance adopted was 5%.


Patients presenting early-onset phobic symptoms more frequently: were inactive (chi2 = 4.28; df = 1; p = 0.04); suffered from the generalized subtype of social phobia (chi2 = 6.53; df = 1; p = 0.01); and presented psychiatric comorbidity (chi2 = 6.71; df = 1; p = 0.01). No differences were observed between the groups in severity of symptoms and therapeutic response.


The findings suggest the existence of a possible social anxiety disorder subtype characterized by early onset of symptoms, higher rates of absenteeism, a wider range of social phobia symptoms and psychiatric complications.

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