Title page for ETD etd-06082010-020517
|Type of Document
||Febbraro, Gregorio A. R.
||A critical examination of the phenomenon of claustrophobia :do subtypes exist?
||Master of Science
|Clum, George A. Jr.
|Stephens, Robert S.
|Date of Defense
Claustrophobia, a fear of enclosed spaces, is thought of as being a unitary
phenomenon. However, different subtypes of claustrophobia may exist. Some
claustrophobics may be more similar to individuals with Panic Disorder with
Agoraphobia in terms of situations feared, cognitions and symptoms whereas
others might be similar to simple phobics with a specific fear of enclosed spaces.
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether such subtypes exist. The
Claustrophobia Situations Questionnaire (CSQ) and the Claustrophobia General
Cognitions Questionnaire (CGCQ) were developed and exploratory factor analyses
were performed on these scales. Two-factor solutions for both the anxiety and
avoidance ratings on the CSQ were obtained accounting for 40.8% and 33.8% of
the variance, respectively. Two subscales were created from each two-factor
solution. A three-factor solution was obtained for the CGCQ accounting for
53.6% of the variance from which three subscales were created. Differential
validity of the scales and their utility in identifying claustrophobic subtypes was
assessed. Self-report measures and physiological response to a hyperventilation
challenge were used to validate claustrophobic subtypes. A significant main effect for "Avoidance of Crowds" was found when using heart rate change and post heart
rate as dependent measures. Specifically, subjects high on the "Avoidance
of Crowds" subscale demonstrated greater heart rate change and post heart rate
than subjects low on the "Avoidance of Crowds" subscale. This suggests
subjects avoidant of panic-like situations had a greater physiological reaction to
the hyperventilation challenge, a task considered to be problematic for panic
disordered individuals. Therefore, the results generally suggest the existence of
claustrophobic subtypes. The present study was the first to compare subjects
differentiated on the basis of claustrophobic subtypes in terms of their
physiological response to a hyperventilation challenge. This study both supported
and extended past research by developing questionnaires (the CSQ and CGCQ)
capable of identifying different claustrophobic situational and cognitive factors.
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