Is There a Dissociative Subtype of Generalized Social Phobia?

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Abstract
Objective: Dissociation in individuals with dissociative syndromes is primarily related to traumatic and/or
shameful experiences. These situations may be re-experienced every time the individual is in a public arena and can
lead to the manifestation of generalized social phobia (GSP). Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the
severity of dissociative symptoms and the relationship of these symptoms to GSP.
Method: This study included 35 healthy volunteers and 51 patients with a diagnosis of GSP who visited the
psychiatric outpatient clinic at the Y. Public Hospital or the B. University Medical Faculty Hospitals. All 51 patients
with GSP completed the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), and the Dissociation Questionnaire (DIS-Q) was
completed by the 51 patients as well as the 35 healthy volunteers.
Results: All participants completed the scales during their first session prior to the initiation of any treatment. The
median LSAS anxiety score was 69.03 ± 7.64 and the mean avoidance score was 59.35 ± 7.35 in the GSP patient
group. The mean DIS-Q score was 2.44 ± 0.59 in the GSP group and 1.67 ± 0.38 in the control group. GSP patients
reported a significantly greater number of dissociative symptoms than did the control group (Z=-6.00, P<0.001), and
a moderately strong positive correlation was found between LSAS anxiety scores and DIS-Q scores (rho=0.308,
P<0.05) in GSP patients.
Conclusion: Higher levels of dissociative symptoms were reported by GSP patients than by healthy controls.
These findings indicate that dissociative symptoms may develop during the daily traumatic experiences to which
individuals with GSP are exposed in social settings.
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