Psychology, Department of



Debra A. Hope

Date of this Version



Journal of Abnormal Psychology 101:2 (May 1992), pp. 318–325.

doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.101.2.318


Copyright © 1992 American Psychological Association. Used by permission.


Social phobia and avoidant personality disorder (APD) may be given as comorbid diagnoses. However, it is not known if the labels provide independent, useful diagnostic information. We classified social phobics by social phobia subtype and presence of APD. Generalized social phobics with and without APD (ns = 10 and 10) and nongeneralized social phobics without APD (n = 10) were distinguished on measures of phobic severity. The generalized groups also showed earlier age at onset and higher scores on measures of depression, fear of negative evaluation, and social anxiety and avoidance than did the nongeneralized group. APD criteria of general timidity and risk aversion were more frequently endorsed by social phobics with APD. The data suggest that both the generalized subtype of social phobia and the presence of APD do provide useful diagnostic information but the additional diagnosis of APD may simply identify a severe subgroup of social phobics.

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