Question

Briefly define phobia and describe its central features.

Briefly define phobia and describe its central features.

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Answer #1

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder and is characterised by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation. The central features of phobias are described as under:

  • Behavioural characteristics: The  key behavioural characteristic of a phobia is avoidance. If a person with a phobia is presented with the object or situation they fear, their immediate response is to avoid it. However, people are not always able to avoid their fears and sometimes they come face-to-face with an object or situation they fear, which results in panic, causing high levels of stress and anxiety.

  • Emotional characteristics: They key emotional characteristics of a phobia, are excessive and unreasonable fear, anxiety and panic. An emotional response is triggered by the presence, or the anticipation of, a specific object or situation.

  • Cognitive characteristics: A person’s selective attention will cause them to become fixated on the object they fear, because of their irrational beliefs about the danger posed. Furthermore, a person’s phobia is defined by their irrational thinking towards the object or situation.

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