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Understanding fear in school children

Introduction: Fear is an intense aversion to or apprehension of a person, place, activity, event, or object that causes emotional distress and often avoidance behavior. Recent studies implicate the prelimbic cortex in fear expression as well, by way of its connection to the basal and then to central nucleus of amygdale.

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the frequency of fear in school children.

Methods: This was a comparative cross sectional study which was conducted in a private school. School children of 7-12 years of age were selected and the sampling technique was nonprobability convenient sampling. Fear Survey Schedule For Children – Revised (FSSC-R) questionnaire was administered to indicate the level of fear. Multiple response analysis was conducted to present overall frequency of fear. Logistic regression was conducted to assess the predictors for the dependent variable of fear. Independent sample t- test was performed to assess the normal distribution of fear.

Results: Most of the students feared from failing in their test (62.3%) proceeded by fear from electricity (59.3%) and fear from wild animals (57.6%). Mean fear scores for females (9.40 ± 22.7) were higher than that of males fear scores (6.14 ± 22.7). Independent sample t-test showed significant effect of gender, t(179) = -8.0, p < 0.0001, with females having higher scores than males. Logistic regression showed the odds of sensitivity of fear were 5.64 times higher for females than they were for males. For males, the odds were 1.06, and for females the odds were 5.98.

Study Limitation: Data was only collected from medium class students of 9 years of age.

Conclusion: Fears are a normal part of development, fears of children are realistic and most of them imaginary.

Author(s): Musleh Uddin Kalar , Syed M. Mustahsan , Maroof Ali Kiran Fatima , Khalil Farooque , Marzia Batool , Syed M. Haider , Fatima Feroz

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