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Compr Psychiatry. 2007 Mar-Apr;48(2):132-6. Epub 2007 Jan 3.

Specific phobia and comorbid depression: a closer look at the National Comorbidity Survey data.

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New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Previous studies examining the relationship between specific phobia and major depression have reported mixed findings. The results of some studies have suggested that specific phobia is associated with a higher prevalence of comorbid depression, whereas others have found no association. The purpose of this study was to further examine whether specific phobia is an independent contributor to major depression by using data from the National Comorbidity Survey, a household probability sample of adults (n = 5877) aged 15 to 54 years in the United States. After adjusting for demographic differences and comorbid mental disorders, multiple logistic regression analyses confirmed that specific phobia remains positively associated with comorbid depression (odds ratio, 1.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.6-2.4). Additional analysis found this relationship to be specific to individuals with a fear of heights, animals, and closed spaces, as well as those endorsing at least 2 irrational fears. These results suggest that the types and number of fears play an important role in the probability of lifetime depression.

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