Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Lissette M. Saavedra & Wendy K. Silverman
Childhood phobias are common psychiatric disorders characterized by excessive or unreasonable fear of, or in anticipation of, a circumscribed object or event. In contrast to developmentally appropriate fears (e.g., fear of strangers in a toddler), the fear experienced by the child with a phobia is irrational, though the child may not recognize its irrationality. Consequently, the child often avoids, or attempts to avoid, the feared object or event. When avoidance is not possible, the child experiences severe distress when faced with the object or event. The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) classifies specific phobias into five subtypes: (1) animal, (2) natural environment, (3) blood-injection, (4) situational, and (5) other. Some of the most frequent and severe phobias reported by children include animals (e.g., dogs), natural events (e.g., thunderstorms), and health providers (e.g., doctors, dentists). This entry describes the Epidemiological ...