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Quality of Life in College Students with and without Social Phobia


Prior studies demonstrating quality of life impairment in phobia and anxiety disorders have relied upon epidemiological samples or clinical data. Using the same quality of life scale, the Short Form 36-item Health Survey (SF-36), in Iranian college students allowed us to study the impact of social phobia (SP) on quality of life among the college students. This report summarizes findings from a cross sectional study on Iranian students with social phobia studying at Shahed University. Quality of life was measured using the Short Form 36-item Health Survey (SF-36) which is a widely used and valid questionnaire to measure quality of life in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Three standard instruments were used to measure social phobia severity, namely Social Phobia Inventory, Social Interaction Anxiety Scale, and Brief version of the Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale. The sample consisted of 202 college students, 72 with SP and 130 without SP. The main finding of this study was that students with social phobia reported significantly lower quality of life, particularly in general health (P = 0.02), vitality (P < 0.0001), social functioning (P < 0.0001), role functioning—emotional (P < 0.0001), and Mental health (P = 0.001) dimensions. Standardized summed scores for mental health components of the SF-36 showed that 36.2% of all the s with SP were severely impaired while 16.0% of the students in control croup were severely impaired. Findings demonstrated that Iranian socially anxious college students reported extensive functional disability, and lower well-being compared to those without SP. These findings should encourage education officers to implement systematic efforts to prevent and treat social anxiety among students.

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We wish to thank Counseling Center of Shahed University for their help in this study.

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Author information

Correspondence to Azadeh Tavoli.

Additional information

AT wrote the first draft of the manuscript. GHG was the main investigator and supervised the study and wrote the final draft of the manuscript. AT and MM conceptualized and designed the study, analyzed the data and interpreted the results. MB supervised the study and contributed to the study design. MS contributed to the data collection. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Ghaedi, G.H., Tavoli, A., Bakhtiari, M. et al. Quality of Life in College Students with and without Social Phobia. Soc Indic Res 97, 247–256 (2010).

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  • Social phobia
  • Quality of life
  • Short form 36-item health survey (SF-36)