Cumulative scales for the measurement of agoraphobia

M Johnston, D W Johnston, H Wilkes, L E Burns, G L Thorpe, Derek Johnston

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20 Citations (Scopus)


The questionnaire responses of 559 agoraphobic subjects were analysed to see whether there was a shared hierarchical pattern of fear and avoidance. The items were divided on the basis of a principal component analysis into 13 loading on an Agoraphobia factor and eight on a Claustrophobia factor. When analysed with Guttman Scaling Analysis valid cumulative scales were found for each factor. These scales were replicated in three independent cohorts of subjects and met the most stringent scaling requirements. The scales produced three valid scores of severity for each individual, the first describing exactly which Agoraphobic items the subject avoids, the second describing Agoraphobic items feared and the third Claustrophobic items avoided. Since it is possible to deduce the current pattern of fear and avoidance from the scores, they can be used to summarize the clinical state of an individual client or for making precise descriptive comparisons between agoraphobics . The scales also indicate that agoraphobics do not develop their own unique set of difficulties from the possible pool of problems, but acquire an ordered set of difficulties, the order being shared by other agoraphobics .
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-43
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume23 ( Pt 2)
Publication statusPublished - 1984


  • Adult
  • Agoraphobia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phobic Disorders
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychometrics


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