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J Affect Disord. 2009 Jun;115(3):421-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2008.10.008. Epub 2008 Nov 13.

Economic costs of social phobia: a population-based study.

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Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Dept. Clinical Psychology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Information about the economic costs of social phobia is scant. In this study, we examine the economic costs of social phobia and subthreshold social phobia.


Data were derived from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS) which is a population-based prospective study (n=4,789). Costs related to health service uptake, patients' out-of-pocket expenses, and costs arising from production losses were calculated for the reference year 2003. The costs for people with social phobia were compared with the costs for people with no mental disorder.


The annual per capita total costs of social phobia were euro 11,952 (95% CI=7,891-16,013) which is significantly higher than the total costs for people with no mental disorder, euro 2957 (95% CI=2690-3224). When adjusting for mental and somatic co-morbidity, the costs decreased to euro 6,100 (95% CI=2681-9519), or 136 million euro per year per 1 million inhabitants, which was still significantly higher than the costs for people with no mental disorder. The costs of subthreshold social phobia were also significantly higher than the costs for people without any mental disorder, at euro 4,687 (95% CI=2557-6816).


The costs presented here are conservative lower estimates because we only included costs related to mental health services.


The economic costs associated with social phobia are substantial, and those of subthreshold social phobia approach those of the full-blown disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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