Gelotofobie en sociale fobie: twee verschillende concepten? Boois, G. de

Once in a while, everyone experiences fear and shame in social situations. Gelotophobia is the pathological fear of becoming an object of laughter. The aim of this study was find out of gelotophobia and social phobia are two different concepts. A social phobic population filled out the survey that contained five questionnaires: an adjusted version of the SCL-90 for excluding co morbidity, gelotophobia (Geloph<46>), social phobia (SIAS), psychological well-being (PANAS) and the ability to discriminate between ridicule and teasing (RTSq). In addition to this dataset there is added a dataset of a healthy population, this contained the questionnaires Geloph<46>, SIAS and PANAS. A total of 169 participants, 79 males and 93 females, completed the survey. A strong correlation was found between gelotophobia and social phobia. A remarkable finding was that all gelotophobics scored high on social phobia, but not all social phobics scored high on gelotophobia. This implies that social phobia may be a general fear for social rejection while gelotophobia is a specific fear for social rejection based on laughter as a stimulus. The RTSq was not able to distinguish the two phobias. Gelotophobia en social phobia showed both a negative relation with positive affect and a positive relation with negative affect. In the relationship between psychological well-being, and social phobia, gelotophobia seems to act as a mediator. Gelotophobia is probably a different concept, but is closely related to social phobia. Nevertheless it doesn’t seem necessary to make a new diagnostic category for gelotophobia. Further research should focus on the different stimuli on which the social fear is based and added value for treatment of gelotophobics if gelotophobia is introduced as a new concept