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An epidemiological questionnaire survey of the prevalence of various types of phobias was undertaken among the Icelandic population. Out of 1,000 individuals surveyed, in accord with national census data held in Reykjavík, 775 questionnaires were returned. Results confirmed that among Icelanders, phobic symptoms overall are more prevalent among women than men. Prevalence rates were lower for individuals 45 years or older, suggesting that extinction may occur with ageing. Divorced or separated individuals were most at risk, as were women homemakers, disabled, or unemployed persons. Education was inversely related to the incidence of all types of phobias, with individuals with less than 10 years of education reporting the highest rates of phobia. Most respondents attributed the onset of their phobias to a specific terrifying experience, and in many cases, to observing another person displaying an intense fear reaction in a given situation. Factor analysis of the data indicated that social anxiety phobias accounted for the greatest proportion of variance.
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