Introduction

Many people dislike spiders and some are even seriously afraid of them. A serious fear of spiders is also known as arachnophobia.

There is a horror comedy film about this topic, it is called Arachnophobia. Link here.

Fear of spiders is a topic psychologists and psychiatrists study for different reasons. Psychiatrists are focused on reducing spider fear, whereas in psychology spider images are sometimes used to experimentally induce an emotional fear response. This approach can be useful in the experimental study of emotion (and in most people, the fear of spiders is not as extreme as in spider phobics, who better should not take part in such studies).

There are various scales, and two of the well known ones are this FSQ and also the Spider Phobia Questionnaire.

There is a good comparison article on the SPQ and the FSQ by Muris & Merckelbach, 1996.

The original paper did not give any population means, but Muris & Merckelbach, 1996 fortunately do. Here is a summary from their Table 1.

Group FSQ score (scale runs from 18 to 126 points)

Non-phobics

3.0

Spider Phobics before treatment

89.1

Spider Phobics after treatment

39.9

The good news is that treatment helps to considerably reduce the fear, albeit not to a normal level.

On YouTube, there are numerous clips about fear of spiders. Based on the above research, you should take the possibility of fully overcoming fear of spiders with a grain of salt. Fear can be reduced, but not reduced to the level in non-phobics.

Run the demo

There are no clear reasons to assume that the FSQ cannot be used for research, but at the very least you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (Szymanksi & O’Donohue, 1995).

Technically

Because of the many points (7 items) on the scale, a Likert scale is not ideal. Instead, PsyToolkit has chosen for a "range" layout.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
l: fsq
t: range
q: Choose an answer on the scale from "not at all" to "very much" for each of the 18 items
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} If I came across a spider now, I would get help from someone else to remove it.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} Currently, I a m sometimes on the look out for spiders.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} If I saw a spider now, I would think it will harm me.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} I now think a lot about spiders.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} I would be somewhat afraid to enter a room now, where I have seen a spider before.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} I now would do anything to try to avoid a spider.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} Currently, I sometimes think about getting bit by a spider.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} If I encountered a spider now, I wouldn't be able to deal effectively with it.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} If I encountered a spider now, it would take a long time to get it out of my mind.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} If I came across a spider now, I would leave the room.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} If I saw a spider now, I would think it will try to jump on me.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} If I saw a spider now, 1 would ask someone else to kill it.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} If I encountered a spider now, I would have images o f it trying to get me.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} If I saw a spider now I would be afraid of it.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} If I saw a spider now, I would feel very panicky.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} Spiders are one of my worst fears.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} I would feel very nervous if I saw a spider now.
- {min=1,max=7,left=not at all,right=very much,start=4} If I saw a spider now I would probably break out in a sweat and my heart would beat faster.

l: fsqscore
t: set
- sum $fsq

l: feedback
t: info
q: Your score on the Fear of Spiders Questionnaire is {$fsqscore}.

References

  • Szymanksi, J. and O’Donohue, W. (1995). Fear of spiders Questionnaire. Journal of Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 26(1), 31-34.

  • Muris, P. and Merckelbach, H. (1996). A comparison of two spider fear questionnaires. Journal of Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 27(3), 241-244.