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Eur Psychiatry. 2007 Mar;22(2):69-74. Epub 2006 Dec 8.

Epidemiology of specific phobia subtypes: findings from the Dresden Mental Health Study.

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Radboud University Nijmegen, Clinical Psychology, Behavioural Science Institute, PO Box 9104, 6500 HE, Nijmegen, Netherlands.


This study determined the prevalence, age of onset, comorbidity, and impairment associated with specific phobia subtypes in the community. Data were drawn from the Dresden Mental Health Study (N=2064), a representative community-based sample of young women in Dresden, Germany. The lifetime prevalence of any specific phobia was 12.8%, with subtypes ranging in prevalence between 0.2% (vomiting, infections) and 5.0% (animals). There were significant differences in the mean age of onset of specific phobias. Significant differences in comorbidity patterns also emerged between subtypes. No significant differences were found in level of impairment associated with the subtypes. The findings suggest that specific phobias are common among young women and that they differ in prevalence, associated comorbidity, and mean age of onset. These data suggest significant differences in the phenomenology and clinical significance of specific phobia subtypes.

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