When she traveled on a train friends had to cover the

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Unformatted text preview: centage Currently Receiving Clinical Treatment Elevated 25.5% One-Year Prevalence Female to Male Ratio Generalized anxiety disorder 3.0% 2:1 Specific phobia 8.7% 2:1 Variable Elevated 19.0% Social phobia 7.1% 3:2 10–20 years Elevated 24.7% Panic disorder 2.8% 5:2 15–35 years Elevated 34.7% Obsessive-compulsive disorder 1.0% 1:1 4–25 years Elevated 41.3% 0–20 years Source: Ruscio et al., 2007; Kessler et al., 2005, 1999, 1994; Wang et al., 2005; Regier et al., 1993. girl was terrified of running water. For years family members had to hold her down to bathe her. When she traveled on a train, friends had to cover the windows so that she would not have to look at any streams. The young woman had apparently acquired a phobia through classical conditioning. In conditioning terms, the entrapment was an unconditioned stimulus (US) that understandably elicited an unconditioned response (UR) of fear. The running water represented a conditioned stimulus (CS), a formerly neutral stimulus that became associated with entrapment in the child’s mind and came also to elicit a fear reaction. The newly acquired fear was a conditioned response (CR). US: Entrapment → UR: Fear CS: Running water → CR: Fear Another way of acquiring a fear reaction is through modeling, that is, through observation and imitation (Bandura & Rosenthal, 1966). A person may observe that others are afraid of certain objects or events and develop fears of the same things. Consider a young boy whose mother is afraid of illnesses, doctors, and hospitals. If she frequently expresses those fears, before long the boy himself may fear illnesses, doctors, and hospitals. Why should one or a few upsetting experiences or observations develop into a longterm phobia? Shouldn’t the trapped girl see later that running water will bring her no harm? Shouldn’t the boy see later that illnesses are temporary and doctors and hospitals helpful? Behaviorists believe that after acquiring a fear response, people try to avoid what they fear. They do not get close to the dreaded objects often enough to learn that the objects are really quite harmless. Behaviorists also propose that specific learned fears will blossom into a generalized anxiety disorder when a person acquires a large number of them. This development is presumed to come about through stimulus generalization: Responses to one stimulus are also elicited by similar stimuli. The fear of running water acquired by the girl in the rocks could have generalized to such similar stimuli as milk being poured into a glass or even the sound of bubbly music. Perhaps a person experiences a series of upsetting events, each event produces one or more feared stimuli, and the person’s reactions to each of these stimuli generalize to yet other stimuli. That person may then build up a large number of fears and eventually develop generalized anxiety disorder. How Have Behavioral Explanations Fared in Research? Some laboratory studies have found that animals and humans can indeed be...
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This note was uploaded on 01/07/2013 for the course PSY 270 taught by Professor Hall during the Spring '05 term at University of Phoenix.

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