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Specific fears and phobias: Epidemiology and classification

  • George Curtis (a1), William J. Magee (a2), William W. Eaton (a3), Hans-Ulrich Wittchen (a4) and Ronald C. Kessler (a5)...
Abstract
Background

Data on eight specific fears representing DSM–III–R simple phobia were analysed to evaluate: (a) their prevalence and (b) the validity of subtypes of specific phobia defined by DSM–IV.

Method

A modified version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview was administered to a probability sample of 8098 community respondents. Correlates of responses to questions concerning these fears were analysed.

Results

The most prevalent specific fears were of animals among women, and of heights among men. Slight evidence was found for specific phobia subtypes. Number of fears, independent of type, powerfully predicted impairment, comorbidity, illness course, demographic features, and family psychopathology.

Conclusion

Number of specific fears may mark a general predisposition to psychopathology. More detailed information is needed to resolve the question of specific phobia subtypes.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr George C. Curtis, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical Center, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109-0840, USA
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Specific fears and phobias: Epidemiology and classification

  • George Curtis (a1), William J. Magee (a2), William W. Eaton (a3), Hans-Ulrich Wittchen (a4) and Ronald C. Kessler (a5)...
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