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Revista Paulista de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0103-0582


SCHOEN, Teresa Helena  and  VITALLE, Maria Sylvia S.. What am I afraid of?. Rev. paul. pediatr. [online]. 2012, vol.30, n.1, pp.72-78. ISSN 0103-0582.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether male and female adolescents report currently experiencing fear and to identify their most common causes of fear. METHODS: This was a descriptive, prospective, cross-sectional study of a convenience sample, involving analysis of questionnaires administered to adolescents seen at a public university adolescent clinic between 2004 and 2006. The adolescents self-administered the Youth Self Report (YSR - a screening tool for behavioral problems) while in the waiting room. The responses to item 29, "I am afraid of certain animals, situations or places other than school. (Describe)" were analyzed. The chi-square test was used to determine whether age group (10-12, 13-15 or 16-19 years) and gender were associated with responses to item 29 of the YSR. RESULTS: 323 adolescents' questionnaires were analyzed, 184 (57%) of whom were female. Fear was more common among the females (p=0.009). There was a significant association between the responses to item 29 and age group. Older adolescents were more likely to check the option "often true" than younger adolescents (p=0.048). There were a variety of different causes of fear, but animals predominated. CONCLUSIONS: Among these adolescents, fear tended to be associated with the female gender and older age groups. Education, culture and preservation of the species may affect the degree of fear in females. In contrast with reports in the literature, in this study older students reported more fear, perhaps due to greater awareness of the emotion or due to the expectations of the age group analyzed.

Keywords : adolescent; adolescent behavior; fear; adolescent medicine; adolescent health.

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