Standard Article

Phobic Disorder

  1. Alyssa M. Epstein,
  2. Michelle G. Craske

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0679

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Epstein, A. M. and Craske, M. G. 2010. Phobic Disorder. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University of California, Los Angeles

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Whereas most individuals have some level of fear or anxiety about certain situations, objects, or events, phobias are considered to be more extreme, persistent, and irrational fears that produce a conscious avoidance of the feared stimulus. According to the DSM-IV, phobic disorder is diagnosed when the following symptoms are present: a marked and persistent fear of a situation or stimulus, exposure to this feared situation or stimulus almost invariably invokes anxiety or panic attacks, the feared situation or stimulus is avoided or endured with intense anxiety or distress, and the avoidance interferes with the individual's functioning or there is marked distress about the phobia (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Adults with this disorder realize that the fear is excessive, although children may not have this insight. Whereas phobic disorders share in common features of threat-relevant responding (i.e., anxious apprehension, fear, and avoidance), they differ in the object and breadth of threat.


  • phobia;
  • cognitive behavioral therapy;
  • exposure;
  • cognitive bias;
  • preparedness