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Psychiatry Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 257459, 5 pages
Research Article

Social Anxiety, Tremor Severity, and Tremor Disability: A Search for Clinically Relevant Measures

1Saint Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City, MO, USA
2Plaza Primary Care and Geriatrics, 4440 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA
3University of Central Missouri, USA

Received 18 April 2013; Accepted 19 June 2013

Academic Editor: Claude Robert Cloninger

Copyright © 2013 Duane A. Lundervold et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. While social anxiety has been reported among essential tremor (ET) patients, very little is known about the relation between self-report measures of social anxiety, tremor severity and disability, and cognition. Methods. Sixty-three individuals diagnosed with ET took part in a comprehensive study examining neurocognition and behavioral functioning. A psychiatric diagnostic interview, three social anxiety questionnaires, and an idiographic-based behavioral assessment to pinpoint anxiety provoking situations and related distress were completed. Results. Thirty percent of the participants met diagnostic criteria for social anxiety disorder (SAD). Social anxiety questionnaires were negligibly related to tremor severity and disability. Idiographic behavioral assessment of subjective distress was moderately related to resting tremor severity and disability and strongly related to social anxiety questionnaires scores. Only one cognitive variable was related to tremor severity. Conclusions. These findings suggest that (a) self-report measures of social anxiety with ET patients may underestimate distress; (b) emphasis on tremor severity may be misleading; (c) tremor disability may be a more sensitive and functional measure related to cognition and effect; (d) SAD is wide spread and does not appear to be related to dysregulated executive function; and (e) development of an ET-specific measure of social anxiety is called for.