Social anxiety disorder is a frequent psychiatric disorder. We aimed to estimate the life-time prevalence, socio-demographic characteristics, risk factors and co-morbidities of this condition among children and adolescents.
This was a cross sectional national survey conducted in Iranian individuals aged 6 to 18 years. Face-to-face household interviews were performed by trained clinical psychologists. The Farsi version of the kiddie schedule for affective disorders and schizophrenia for school-age children/present and lifetime version (K-SADS-PL) was administered to estimate the SAD prevalence. Parental personality traits and their psychopathologies were also obtained using Millon clinical multiaxial inventory, third edition (MCMI-III) to find the possible risk factors.
From 29,878 participants, 585 individuals were diagnosed with SAD and weighted lifetime prevalence of 1.8% was observed. The odds of this condition was significantly higher among older adolescents (odds ratio (OR):1.47; 95% confidence interval(CI): 1.11-1.95) and individuals with paternal history of psychiatric hospitalization (OR: 2.96; 95%CI: 1.29-6.79). Higher means of persistent depression disorder (OR: 1.009; 95%CI: 1.000-1.018) and melancholic personality trait (OR: 1.007; 95%CI: 1.001-1.014) in mothers as well as schizophrenia spectrum (OR: 1.014; 95%CI: 1.001-1.027) and anxiety (OR: 1.010; 95%CI: 1.010-1.021) in fathers were statistically associated with higher odds of SAD in their children. Other anxiety disorders and behavioral disorders were the most prevalent co-morbidities.
The cross-sectional analysis does not enable analyses of possible causal associations. Lacking control group and follow-up periods were other major limitations that should be resolved in future studies.
Clinicians and researchers need to continue studying this condition at all levels and in all developmental periods.

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