Gender differences in phobias: Results of the ECA community survey


Journal Article

Analyses of gender differences in phobias are presented based on Wave 1 of the five-site ECA community survey. A total of 18,572 respondents, aged 18 and over, were questioned about 15 phobic symptoms, yielding diagnoses based on DSM-III criteria for agoraphobia, social phobia, and simple phobia. Women had significantly higher prevalence rates of agoraphobia and simple phobia, but no gender differences were found for social phobia, the least prevalent of the phobic disorders. The most common phobias for both men and women involved "spiders, bugs, mice and snakes," and "heights." The largest differences between men and women were found on the agoraphobic symptoms of "going out of the house alone" and "being alone," and on two simple phobia items, the fear of "any harmless or dangerous animal," and "storms." No sex differences were found in age of onset, reporting a fear on the phobic level, telling a doctor about symptoms, or recall of past symptomatology. Mean age of onset was significantly older for agoraphobia than for social or simple phobia, although all phobias evidenced onset at an early age. © 1988.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bourdon, KH; Boyd, JH; Rae, DS; Burns, BJ; Thompson, JW; Locke, BZ

Published Date

  • January 1, 1988

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 227 - 241

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0887-6185

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0887-6185(88)90004-7

Citation Source

  • Scopus