The public-speaking fear constitutes a recognizable subtype of social phobia in epidemiologic studies. To verify the impact on personnel functioning and the professional help seeking for treatment of public-speaking fear in a population sample, we conducted a survey with 452 residents of the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Thirty two per cent of the respondents reported that had excessive anxiety when spoke to a large audience. In total, 13% of the survey reported that public-speaking fear had resulted in a marked interference in their work, social life and education, or had caused then marked distress. Seven per cent of the survey had public-speaking fear in isolation, without evidence of others social fears. This data support the inclusion of severe forms of public-speaking fear within the social phobia diagnostic construct and also suggest that public-speaking anxiety may have a negative impact on the lives of many individuals in the community.
public-speaking fear; social phobia; prevalence; impact on functioning