The Outcome Of Psychological Treatment For Specific Phobias

The following review discusses the treatment of: claustrophobia, fear of flying, routine dental treatment, injections and blood injury and of spiders because, according to a Medline search from 1984, they have probably received the most attention in psychological studies. In addition, however, these phobias probably differ in the impairment of daily functioning and quality of life that they produce in afflicted people. Spider phobia probably has least impact on subjects but others, most notably injection phobia, can be life threatening. On the other hand, the treatment of spider phobia has probably been investigated for theoretical interest more than other fears. Reviews have claimed that the most successful treatment of specific phobias has required the exposure of subjects to the situations that have provoked their fear (Marks, 1987). The present review discusses subsequent studies that have examined different approaches and new ways of implementing exposure, as suggested by technological innovation or theoretical conceptions of fear (Cameron, 1997). All the studies in Tables 20.1 to 20.4 used repeated outcome measures, before and after treatment. Other specific phobias, which have received attention in case studies, are reviewed in Davey (1997).

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