A factor analytic study of fear responses and situations of agoraphobics

Phobic Evaluation Questionnaires completed by 258 agoraphobics seeking treatment were analyzed. Factor scores were derived from three separate scales within the questionnaire; situations symptom and fear survey. The main factor on the fear survey scale was fear of social rejection and it accounted for 425% of the variance. The (factor) territorial apprehensiveness which included the more classic agoraphobic items was the third strongest factor on this scale and only accounted for 11.5% of the total variance. On the situational scale and social performance "trapped" and "closed in" factors accounted 51.6% of the variance. The main factor on the symptom scale was immobility and total body reaction factor which accounted for 39% of the variance. The analysis presented a profile of agoraphobics avoiding social rejection (punishment) by withdrawing from social performance situations. This avoidance behavior is in part maintained by the agoraphobics extreme anxiety reaction in the phobic situation.