- The structure of common fears: comparing three different models
- The American Journal of Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 124 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Dentistry (ACTA)
Previous studies showed discrepant findings regarding the factor structure of common fears. The purpose of the present study was to expand on these findings and contribute to the development of a descriptive framework for a fear classification. Using data from the Dutch general population (n = 961; 50.9% women), an exploratory factor analysis was performed to delineate the multidimensional structure of 11 common fears previously used in a factor analytic study by Fredrikson, Annas, Fischer, and Wik (1996). An independent sample (n = 998; 48.3% women) was used to confirm the newly derived model by means of confirmatory factor analysis. In addition, the model was tested against the DSM-IV-TR model and a model found earlier by Fredrikson et al. (1996). Although support was found for a 3-factor solution consisting of a blood-injection-injury factor, a situational-animal factor, and a height-related factor, confirmatory factor analysis showed that this 3-factor model and the DSM-IV-TR 4-factor model fitted the data equally well. The findings suggest that the structure of subclinical fears can be inferred from the DSM classification of phobia subtypes and that fears and phobias are two observable manifestations of a fear response along a continuum.
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