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Behav Res Ther. 1989;27(5):537-47.

Blood/injury fear, fainting and avoidance of medically-related situations: a family correspondence study.


The relationship of mutilation fear and fainting was examined in 204 students, (103 fainters and 101 non-fainters) by administering a series of questionnaires and a structured interview concerning the history, effects and circumstances of their fear and fainting. Two hundred and sixty of their parents completed the same scales along with a self-report version of the structured interview. Subjects were classified according to their fainting status and level of fear based on Mutilation Questionnaire scores, as phobic, fearful, and non-fearful fainters, and fearful non-fainters. Phobic and fearful fainters avoided significantly more medical and related situations due to their fear and fainting than fearful non-fainters and non-fearful fainters. Medical avoidance was best predicted by a linear combination of subjects' estimated probability of future fainting and number of past faint episodes. More females reported fainting and females reported greater fear, but they did not differ from males in fear-motivated avoidance of medical situations. A significant parent-child correspondence was found for fainting, but not for fear nor for avoidances. Implications of these findings for fear and fainting acquisition and its relation to avoidance were discussed.

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