The stability of fears in children

A two year prospective study: A research note

S. H. Spence*, H. McCathie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated the stability of self-reported fears amongst 94 primary school children over a 2-year period using the Fear Survey Schedule for Children - Revised (FSSC-R). Children reported a decrease in fearfulness with increasing age, with girls reporting higher fear scores than boys on both occasions. The most frequently feared stimuli were almost identical for boys and girls and remained the same on both occasions, relating mainly to fears of danger, death and physical injury. Those fears that showed the greatest reduction over time concerned getting sick, parental criticism or punishment and the dark for girls, whereas boys reported the greatest reductions in fears relating to physical injury, parental criticism, the dark and unfamiliar persons. The only fear stimulus to increase with age was 'giving a spoken report', which was rated as more fearful by boys on the second occasion. Children identified as unusually fearful at Time 1, were much more likely to report high fear levels two years later, compared to children who did not report high fear levels at Time 1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-585
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1993

Keywords

  • Children
  • Fears
  • Longitudinal study

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