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Assessment of fear of fear among agoraphobic patients: The Agoraphobic Cognitions Scale

Assessment of fear of fear among agoraphobic patients: The Agoraphobic Cognitions Scale

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 14(2): 175-187

A self-report scale for the measurement of fear of fear, the Agoraphobic Cognitions Scale (ACS), was psychometrically evaluated. Two samples of inpatients satisfying DSM-III-R criteria for unipolar depressive and/or anxiety disorder were studied. Intercorrelational and factor analyses indicated that the ACS measured three dimensions of fear of fear: fear of bodily incapacitation, fear of losing control, and fear of acting embarrassingly. Three subscales were constructed to measure these dimensions. The subscales proved to have satisfactory internal consistency and criterion-related validity. However, fear of losing control was related not only to other anxiety symptoms, but also to depressive symptomatology. Agoraphobic patients reported more fear of bodily incapacitation and fear of losing control than social phobic, generally anxious, and nonanxious depressed patients. Fear of embarrassing action was higher among agoraphobic and social phobic patients than among generally anxious and nonanxious depressed patients. These results were obtained after controlling for general anxiety and depression level and, thus, support the validity of the fear of fear construct.

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Accession: 008193098

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DOI: 10.1007/bf00965173

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