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Psychiatry Res. 2013 Oct 30;209(3):596-603. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.12.025. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Prevalence, correlates, and comorbidities of four DSM-IV specific phobia subtypes: results from the Korean Epidemiological Catchment Area study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.


Although several studies have detected differences in clinical features among specific phobias, there is a shortage of detailed national data on the on the DSM-IV SP subtypes, particularly in the Asian population. To examine the prevalence, demographic and other correlates, and co-morbidities of DSM-IV SP subtypes in a nationwide sample of Korean adults. We recruited 6510 participants aged 18-64 years for this study. Lay interviewers used the Composite International Diagnostic Interview to assess participants. We analyzed socio-demographics, health-related correlates and frequencies of comorbid mental disorders among participants with SP and each subtypes compared to unaffected adults. The prevalence of lifetime DSM-IV SP was 3.8%, and animal phobias were the most prevalent type of SP. Blood-injection-injury phobia was negatively associated with education, whereas situational phobia was positively associated with education. The strongest mental disorder comorbidity was associated with situational phobia; there is a higher probability of comorbid mood (OR=5.73, 95% CI=2.09-15.73), anxiety (OR=7.54, 95% CI=2.34-24.28), and somatoform disorders (OR=7.61, 95% CI=1.64-35.22) with this subtype. Blood-injection-injury phobia was highly associated with alcohol dependence (OR=9.02, 95% CI=3.54-23.02). Specific phobias are heterogeneous with respect to socio-demographic characteristics and comorbidity pattern. Implications of the usefulness of current subtype categories should continue to be investigated.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Epidemiology; Korea; Mental disorders; Specific phobia; Subtype

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