Unformatted text preview: into adulthood (APA, 2000).
In several studies African and Asian American participants have scored higher than
white Americans on surveys of social anxiety (Schultz et al., 2008, 2006; Okazaki et al.,
2002, APA, 2000). In addition, a culture-bound disorder called taijn kyofusho seems to be
particularly common in Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. Although this disorder
is traditionally defined as a fear of making other people feel uncomfortable, a number
of clinicians now suspect that its sufferers primarily fear being evaluated negatively by
other people, a key feature of social phobias. What Causes Phobias?
Each of the models offers explanations for phobias. Evidence tends to support the behavioral explanations. Behaviorists believe that people with phobias first learn to fear
certain objects, situations, or events through conditioning (Wolfe, 2005). Once the fears
are acquired, the individuals avoid the dreaded object or situation, permitting the fears
to become all the more entrenched. table: 4-6
DSM Checklist SOCIAL PHOBIA
1. Marked and persistent fear of
social or performance situations
involving exposure to unfamiliar
people or possible scrutiny by
others, lasting at least six months.
Concern about humiliating or
2. Anxiety usually produced by
exposure to the social situation.
3. Recognition that the fear is excessive or unreasonable.
4. Avoidance of feared situations.
5. Significant distress or impairment.
Based on APA, 2000. ComFun6e_Ch04_C!.indd 108 Behavioral Explanations: How Are Fears Learned? Behaviorists propose
classical conditioning as a common way of acquiring phobic reactions. Here, two
events that occur close together in time become closely associated in a person’s mind,
and, as you saw in Chapter 2, the person then reacts similarly to both of them. If one
event triggers a fear response, the other may also.
In the 1920s a clinician described the case of a young woman who apparently acquired a phobia of running water through classical conditioning (Bagby, 1922). When
she was 7 years old she went on a picnic with her mother and aunt and ran off by
herself into the woods after lunch. While she was climbing over some large rocks, her
feet were caught between two of them. The harder she tried to free herself, the more
trapped she became. No one heard her screams, and she grew more and more terrified.
In the language of behaviorists, the entrapment was eliciting a fear response.
Entrapment → Fear response
As she struggled to free her feet, the girl heard a waterfall nearby. The sound of the
running water became linked in her mind to her terrifying battle with the rocks, and
she developed a fear of running water as well.
Running water → Fear response
Eventually the aunt found the screaming child, freed her from the rocks, and comforted her, but the psychological damage had been done. From that day forward, the 12/10/09 11:16:14 AM Anxiety Disorders :// 109 t able: 4 -7 Anxiety Disorders Profile
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