Specific Phobia: Risk Factor of Other Psychiatric Disorders

Guido Wetzer, Margreet ten Have, Ron de Graaf, Neeltje M. Batelaan, Anton J. L. M. van Balkom*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Predicting the onset and persistence of psychopathology and limited functioning might enable personalized care. Specific phobia (SP) might serve as a predictor, but this needs further evaluation. Participants of the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2 were divided into three groups: no-SP (n = 6094), history of SP (n = 204), and current SP (n = 348). Results showed that current SP was associated with a higher prevalence of other anxiety disorders, mood and substance use disorders, and lower levels of functioning. The 6-year onset of other anxiety disorders was associated with history and current SP. Current-SP was also associated with the onset of mood disorders. Neuroticism and childhood trauma only partly accounted for these associations. To conclude, SP was independently associated with presence and onset of other disorders and with limited functioning over time. The presence of SP may serve as an identifier of persons vulnerable to the development of other psychopathologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-490
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

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