BACKGROUND: Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is among the most common anxiety disorders worldwide with data largely emerging from the Euro-American and Pacific Rim populations. In contrast, there is a dearth of studies among the populations of Arabian Gulf countries including Oman. This study has two interrelated aims: (i) to explore the prevalence of SAD among Omani adults, and (ii) to tease out the links between socio-demographic factors and SAD in Oman.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study via an online survey was conducted among 1019 adult Omani nationals residing in Oman. The presence of SAD was assessed using the Arabic version of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS).
RESULTS: Nearly half the participants (45.9%, n = 468) exhibited "caseness" for SAD as defined by LSAS. In the multivariate logistic analysis, participants below 40 years of age were 1.6 times (OR = 1.568, p = .026) more likely to have caseness for SAD than those who were 40 and older. Women were 1.3 times (OR = 1.348, p = .038) more likely to exhibit caseness for SAD than men. Participants who had secondary or undergraduate education were respectively 1.5 times (OR = 1.45, p = .014) and 2.5 times (OR = 2.509, p < .001) to have caseness for SAD than those who were graduates.
CONCLUSION: The present data suggest that 45.9% of the participants reached the cut-off for caseness in LSAS, which is high compared to reports from other populations. The present accrued frequency is discussed within the context of the accrued response rate, socio-cultural factors as well as the tendency for self-reported measures to "produce" spurious results is also highlighted which, in turn, calls for studies that adopt more inclusive survey methods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas