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 SPQ and also the Fear of Spider Questionnaire.

There is a good comparison article on the SPQ and the FSQ by Muris & Merckelback, 1996. The SPQ is older (Klorman et al., 1974) than the FSQ (Szymanksi & O’Donohue, 1995), but still a popular choice.

For population means, here is a summary from Muris & Merckelbach’s (1996) table 1.

Group SPQ score (scale runs from 0 to 31)



Spider Phobics before treatment


Spider Phobics after treatment


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 SPQ cannot be used for research, but at the very least you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (Klorman et al., 1974).


This is a simple true/false scale question (all true answers are summed into a score from 0-31, some are reverse scored).

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
scale: truefalse
- {score=1} True
- {score=0} False

l: spq
t: scale truefalse
o: width 80%
q: For each of the following statements, indicate whether it is true (yes) or false (no) for you.
- I avoid going to parks or on camping trips because there may be spiders about.
- I would feel some anxiety holding a toy spider in my hand.
- If a picture of a spider crawling on a person appears on the screen during a motion picture, I turn my head away.
- I dislike looking at pictures of spiders in a magazine.
- If there is a spider on the ceiling over my bed, I cannot go to sleep unless someone kills it for me.
- {reverse} I enjoy watching spiders build their webs.
- I am terrified by the thought of touching a harmless spider.
- If someone says that there are spiders anywhere about, I become alert and edgy
- I would not go down to the basement to get something if I thought there might be spiders down there.
- I would feel uncomfortable if a spider crawled out of my shoe as I took it out of the closet to put it on.
- When I see a spider, I feel tense and restless.
- {reverse} I enjoy reading articles about spiders.
- I feel sick when I see a spider.
- {reverse} Spiders are sometimes useful.
- I shudder when I think of spiders.
- {reverse} I don't mind being near a harmless spider if there is someone there in whom I have confidence.
- {reverse} Some spiders are very attractive to look at.
- I don't believe anyone could hold a spider without some fear.
- The way spiders move is repulsive.
- {reverse} It wouldn't bother me to touch a dead spider with a long stick.
- If I came upon a spider while cleaning the attic I would probably run.
- I'm probably more afraid of spiders than of any other animal.
- I would not want to travel to Mexico or Central America because of the greater prevalence of tarantulas.
- I am cautious when buying fruit because bananas may attract spiders.
- {reverse} I have no fear of non-poisonous spiders.
- I wouldn't take a course in biology if I thought I might have to handle live spiders.
- {reverse} Spider webs are very artistic.
- {reverse} I think that I'm no more afraid of spiders than the average person.
- I would prefer not to finish a story if something about spiders was introduced into the plot.
- Not only am I afraid of spiders but millipedes and caterpillars make me feel anxious.
- Even if I was late for a very important appointment, the thought of spiders would stop me from taking a shortcut through an underpass.

l: spq_score
t: set
- sum $spq

l: feedback
t: info
q: Your Spider Fear Questionnaire score is {$spq_score}.


  • Klorman, R., Weerts, T. C., Hastings, J. E., Melamed, B. G., Lang, P. J. (1974). Psychometric descriptions of some specific fear questionnaires. Behavior Therapy, 5, 401-409.

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

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