Background. Phobic disorder is one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in community
populations and much attention has focused on the association of sociodemographic factors and
social resources with the disorder. There has been little investigation of the more personal resources
such as self-confidence, religiosity, social support and self-perceived health that may increase
Methods. We used a sample of 2914 community residents aged 18 or older who participated in the
Duke University Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study to explore the relationship between both
social and personal resources and the prevalence of DIS/DSM-III phobic disorder.
Results. The 1-month prevalence of any phobic disorder was 7·6%. In bivariate analyses, we found
both race/ethnicity and gender differences in prevalence, with a higher prevalence of phobic
disorder in African-Americans and females. Lower socio-economic status, rural residence and
unmarried status were also associated with current prevalence. No association was found for social
network and social interaction. Impaired subjective social support, low self-confidence, perceived
poorer physical health and co-morbid psychiatric disorder were significantly associated with
current prevalence in uncontrolled analyses, while associations between lack of a confidant as well
as religiosity and phobic disorder were not. Female gender (OR = 1·7), perceived low self-
confidence (OR = 2·0), and two interaction terms, age × co-morbid psychiatric disorder and
race/ethnicity × perceived physical health were associated with phobic disorder in controlled
analyses using logistic regression.
Conclusions. We conclude that both social and personal resources, particularly self-confidence, co-morbidity and perceived physical health are important correlates of phobic disorder.