Gender and Age Differences

Researchers have found consistently that girls report a greater number of fears than do boys. However, one cannot tell from these studies whether this gender difference is due to a higher inborn fear reactivity in females or whether other factors, such as sex-role influences, are responsible.

Several studies have found age-related changes in the type of fear children report. An overview of this developmental trend reveals that, as children grow older, their fears tend to become (1) more abstract and (2) more anticipatory, rather than being tied to immediate occurrences. For instance, compared to young children, older children tend to be less afraid of animals but more fearful of school and social relations.

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