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Behav Res Ther. 1996 Nov-Dec;34(11-12):939-43.

Social phobia in disabled workers with chronic musculoskeletal pain.

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  • 1Rehabilitation Research Department, Wascana Rehabilitation Centre, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.


The present study assessed the prevalence and impact of social phobia and other anxiety disorders in disabled workers with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Potential participants were 200 disabled workers consecutively referred to an interdisciplinary tertiary care centre. A two stage screening process was used in which: (a) a self-report battery was given during a pre-admission visit, and (b) pre-planned selection criteria were applied to the self-report instruments to select patients for a structured diagnostic interview. Fifty-four of the 146 patients who provided complete responses on the self-report battery met criteria for interview. Twenty-six patients (17.8%) met DSM-IV criteria for a current anxiety disorder and, of these, 16 (11.0%) were diagnosed with social phobia. Subjects with social phobia rated themselves as having less social support than subjects with no psychiatric disorder, but the groups did not differ in pain-related life interference, personal control, or health care utilization. The results suggest that social phobia is over-represented in disabled workers with chronic musculoskeletal pain and should be noted as a comorbid condition that may compound both suffering and disability.

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