Efficacious treatments for social anxiety disorder have become increasingly available, with approximately three-quarters of treatment completers showing significant improvement (Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 55 (1998) 1133.). However, very few individuals with social anxiety disorder access these services. The present study reports on the path to initiation of treatment for social anxiety disorder among individuals contacting an anxiety disorder specialty clinic. Of 395 initial telephone inquiries, only 60 individuals (15%) started treatment. Three “critical points” associated with high pretreatment attrition were identified: scheduling an initial interview, attending a scheduled initial interview, and initiating a treatment program after receiving a principal diagnosis of social anxiety disorder. Several demographic variables (e.g., level of education, race) were related to attendance at the initial interview. However, no differences were found between those who did and did not initiate treatment on demographic variables, symptom severity, or quality of life. Given that most individuals who complete treatment for social phobia experience significant benefit, results of the current study suggest that future efforts should be devoted to increasing number of patients who access these services.
Journal Of Anxiety Disorders – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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