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The fear of being laughed at, social anxiety, and memories of being teased during childhood

Author(s): Kim R. Edwards | Rod A. Martin | David J. A. Dozois

Journal: Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling
ISSN 2190-0493

Volume: 52;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 94;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: gelotophobia | social skills | social phobia | anxiety | teasing

Using a sample of 207 undergraduate students, we investigated: (1) relations between gelotophobia and memories of being the target of teasing during childhood and adolescence; and (2) associations between gelotophobia and social and specific fears and anxieties. Regression analyses revealed that higher gelotophobia scores were associated with a greater history of being teased about social behavior and academic excellence, but not about family background, appearance, or performance. Overall, gelotophobia was related to distress but not frequency of childhood teasing. Additional regression analyses revealed that gelotophobia was strongly related to three measures of social anxiety, but not to specific fears relating to death/illness/injury, animals, or situations. However, significant associations between gelotophobia and a history of being teased remained even after controlling for social anxiety. These results support Titze’s (2009) view of gelotophobia as a syndrome that is related to, but distinct from, social phobia, which develops in part from repeated experiences of being the target of teasing and ridicule relating particularly to anxiety-based social skills deficits and interpersonal awkwardness.
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