British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 15 Issue 1 (March 1997), Pages 1-128

Three‐year follow‐up of normal fear in children and adolescents aged 7 to 18 years (pages 97-111)

Normative fears of 273 children and adolescents aged between 7 and 18 years were examined over a three‐year period. Respondents' gender and initial fear scores were found to be better predictors of follow‐up fear scores than age suggesting a trait component to fearfulness and underlining the pervasive influence of gender on fearfulness. Also, the results yielded a general decrease in fearfulness between initial and follow‐up assessment which was most marked for the 7‐ to 10‐year‐olds. At approximately 11 years of age a degree of stability for all fears, with the exception of psychic stress‐related fears, became apparent. In contrast, for these fears there was a general increase over time. Older children and boys reported fewer fears and a lower intensity of fearfulness than younger children and girls, respectively. The most common fears related to death and danger and were relatively stable over time.

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