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  1. Randi E. Mccabe

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0030

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Mccabe, R. E. 2010. Agoraphobia. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Although the Greek word agoraphobia means fear of large open spaces, our current conceptualization of agoraphobia is far more situationally encompassing. The term was introduced by Westphal in 1871 in a case series of four men who presented with fears of large open spaces (Boyd & Crump, 1991). In the fourth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (APA, 2000) agoraphobia is defined as anxiety about, or avoidance of, situations where help may not be available or where it may be difficult or embarrassing to escape the situation in the event of panic-like symptoms or a full-blown panic attack. Patterns of agoraphobic avoidance are variable with levels of avoidance ranging from just a few situations to an extensive range of situations. Commonly feared situations are listed in Table 1.