Quality of Life and Clinical Correlates in Adults with Social Phobia: A Scoping Review

Hui Miin Lau1, #, Kai Samuel Sim1, #, Qian Hui Chew2, Kang Sim2, 3, *
1 Monash School of Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
2 Department of Research , Institute of Mental Health, Buangkok Green Medical Park, 539747, Republic of Singapore, Singapore
3 West Region, Institute of Mental Health, Buangkok Green Medical Park, 539747, Republic of Singapore, Singapore

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© 2021 Lau et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Institute of Mental Health, 10, Buangkok View, Singapore 539747, Republic of Singapore; Tel: +65-6389 2000; E-mail:
# Both the authors contributed equally



In light of the substantial clinical and societal burden of social phobia (SP) and impact on the sense of well-being of affected individuals, we sought to summarise extant data related to quality of life and relevant correlates in adults with SP to distill clinical profiles for earlier identification and appropriate management.


A scoping review was carried out on studies examining quality of life in adults with SP and clinical correlates within different settings. PubMed/Medline and Web of Science databases were searched for relevant articles beginning from database inception until May 2021.


A total of 25 papers were included. Most of the studies (92%) were cross sectional in nature (80%), conducted in the West (92%), and within clinic or community settings (88%). Patients with comorbid psychiatric conditions, and undergraduate students reported higher rates of SP compared with community population. Significant correlates of SP included demographic (such as females, younger age, living alone, fewer years of education, unemployment) and clinical factors (such as family history of anxiety disorders, suicidal ideas, avoidant personality features). SP was widely associated with decreased QoL involving several domains and especially related to complexity, greater number of feared or trigger situations, and comorbid medical and psychiatric conditions.


SP is not uncommon within clinical, and undergraduate populations, and has a significantly negative impact on quality of life. Awareness of its associated clinical profiles allows better identification and overall management of this condition including improvement in QoL.

Keywords: Anxiety disorders, Comorbidity, Quality of life, Social phobia, Social anxiety disorder, Correlates.