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Depress Anxiety. 2008;25(1):8-19.

Generalized social phobia and avoidant personality disorder: meaningful distinction or useless duplication?

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6241, USA.


Participants with generalized social phobia (GSP) with (n=36) and without (n=19) avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) were compared via contrasts of group means and classification analysis on purported core features of AVPD. GSP-AVPD participants proved to be more severely impaired or distressed on some group contrasts. Cluster analysis identified two groups in the sample, with group membership significantly correlated to AVPD diagnosis. However, almost all significant findings were nullified when severity of social phobia was statistically controlled. Thus, at least where participants with social phobia are concerned, it seems most parsimonious to consider AVPD a severe form of GSP rather than a separate diagnostic category.

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