Patients' willingness to discuss phobic avoidance symptoms.

D. A. Katerndahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phobic avoidance--avoiding entering specific fear-provoking situations--can severely restrict patients' lives. To determine the frequency with which patients having some degree of phobic avoidance will discuss these fears with their physician and factors in their decision to discuss, a mailed survey was conducted in Franklin County, Ohio. Data from 32 respondents to a mental health questionnaire who met criteria for phobic avoidance were analyzed. Only 28% indicated that they had seen a physician about their fears. The presence of panic attacks and duration of fears and avoidance were key factors in patients' decision to present. In those patients with both panic attacks and phobic avoidance, fear-of-dying and urgency of presentation for panic attacks were particularly important in the decision to present for their fears. These findings are relevant to both primary care and emergency room physicians, indicating the need to raise physician sensitivity to this problem. Future studies with larger samples are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-97
Number of pages7
JournalThe Family practice research journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1991


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