Childhood maltreatment linked to greater symptom severity and poorer quality of life and function in social anxiety disorder

Naomi M Simon, Nannette N Herlands, Elizabeth H Marks, Catherine Mancini, Andrea Letamendi, Zhonghe Li, Mark H Pollack, Michael Van Ameringen, Murray B Stein
Depression and Anxiety 2009, 26 (11): 1027-32

BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of data examining the prevalence and impact of childhood maltreatment in patients presenting with a primary diagnosis of social anxiety disorder (SAD). We thus examined the presence of a broad spectrum of childhood maltreatment, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect, in treatment-seeking individuals with the generalized subtype of SAD (GSAD). We hypothesized that a history of childhood maltreatment would be associated with greater SAD symptom severity and poorer associated function.

METHODS: One hundred and three participants with a primary diagnosis of GSAD (mean age 37+/-14; 70% male) completed the well-validated, self-rated Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), as well as measures of SAD symptom severity and quality of life.

RESULTS: Fully 70% (n=72) of the GSAD sample met severity criteria for at least one type of childhood abuse or neglect as measured by the CTQ subscales using previously established thresholds. CTQ total score adjusted for age and gender was associated with greater SAD severity, and poorer quality of life, function, and resilience. Further, the number of types of maltreatment present had an additive effect, with specific associations for emotional abuse and neglect with SAD severity.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the use of validated assessments, our findings are limited by the retrospective and subjective nature of self-report measures used to assess childhood maltreatment. Nonetheless, these data suggest a high rate of childhood maltreatment in individuals seeking treatment for GSAD, and the association of maltreatment with greater disorder severity suggests that screening is clinically prudent.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"