Perceived helpfulness of treatment for social anxiety disorder: findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys

The WHO World Mental Health Survey collaborators

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Abstract

Purpose: To investigate the prevalence and predictors of perceived helpfulness of treatment in persons with a history of DSM-IV social anxiety disorder (SAD), using a worldwide population-based sample. Methods: The World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys is a coordinated series of community epidemiological surveys of non-institutionalized adults; 27 surveys in 24 countries (16 in high-income; 11 in low/middle-income countries; N = 117,856) included people with a lifetime history of treated SAD. Results: In respondents with lifetime SAD, approximately one in five ever obtained treatment. Among these (n = 1322), cumulative probability of receiving treatment they regarded as helpful after seeing up to seven professionals was 92.2%. However, only 30.2% persisted this long, resulting in 65.1% ever receiving treatment perceived as helpful. Perceiving treatment as helpful was more common in female respondents, those currently married, more highly educated, and treated in non-formal health-care settings. Persistence in seeking treatment for SAD was higher among those with shorter delays in seeking treatment, in those receiving medication from a mental health specialist, and those with more than two lifetime anxiety disorders. Conclusions: The vast majority of individuals with SAD do not receive any treatment. Among those who do, the probability that people treated for SAD obtain treatment they consider helpful increases considerably if they persisted in help-seeking after earlier unhelpful treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2079-2095
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume57
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Perceived helpfulness
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Treatment

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