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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2008;43(4):410-5. doi: 10.1080/00365520701768802.

Social phobia in coeliac disease.

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Institute of Internal Medicine, Catholic University of Rome, Rome, Italy.



A high prevalence of anxiety and depression has been reported in coeliac disease (CD). Although social phobia is included among the anxiety disorders, its presence in CD has never been investigated. The aim of the present study was to evaluate social phobia in CD patients.


A total of 40 CD patients were consecutively enrolled in the study. Fifty healthy subjects were studied as controls. Social phobia was assessed by the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) and current depression by the modified version of the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale (M-SDS).


The percentage of subjects with social phobia was significantly higher in CD patients than in controls (70% versus 16%; p<0.0001), and also when the more severe generalized form was considered (15.0% versus 0%; p=0.006). The percentage of subjects with social phobia was not statistically different between newly diagnosed subjects and patients on a gluten free diet (73.3% versus 68%; p: NS), nor considering its generalized form (7.0% versus 20%; p: NS). Current depression was present in a significantly higher percentage of CD patients in comparison with controls (52.5% versus 8%; p<0.0001). A direct correlation between social phobia and current depression was found in CD patients (r=0.582; p<0.0001).


Despite the limited number of cases evaluated, the present study showed a significantly higher prevalence of social phobia in CD patients compared with in healthy subjects. Future studies are needed to clarify the possible social phobia-induced risks such as school and/or work failure in CD patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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