Validation of a Measure to Assess the Prevalence and Severity of Fears in an Adult Population

Date of Defense

Summer 5-20-2011



First Advisor

Richard Spates, Psychology

Second Advisor

Richard W. Seim, Psychology

Third Advisor

Christina M. Sheerin, Psychology


vomit phobia, choking phobia, vomit fear, choking fear


Study on emetophobia and pnigophobia. Due to the absence of clinically-relevant data and support from reputable psychological sources, many resources have been formed to allow those who suffer from understudied phobias to exchange advice that may not always be informed. In direct correlation with the lack of validated data, impractical treatments from unlicensed therapists who are endorsed for profit are becoming more prevalent in an attempt to aid individuals experiencing these phobias. More research needs to be conducted on these ignored phobias to create informed, reputable advice and treatment possibilities.

In an effort to increase the availability of data on these and other overlooked phobias, Seim and Spates (unpublished) created the Quick Phobia Survey (QPS), a brief questionnaire that assesses for 31 different fears by requiring participants to specify the intensity felt by each fear, the level of avoidance of each fear, and whether the fear prevents them from engaging in activities they would otherwise do. This questionnaire is currently being used in an ongoing study with the hopes of improving understanding in the following areas: (1) the prevalence of understudied fears, (2) which fears are more likely to co-occur together, (3) whether certain genders or ethnic backgrounds influence the development of certain fears, and (4) what fears are more common with different age ranges. It will also be used in upcoming epidemiological studies regarding the prevalence of fears.


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