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By means of a twin study an attempt was made to throw light upon the aetiology and nosology of phobic fears. Factor analyses revealed five factors, namely separation fears, animal fears, mutilation fears, social fears and nature fears. The study demonstrated that, apart from separation fears, genetic factors play a part in the strength as well as content of phobic fears. Environmental factors, affecting the development of dependence, reserve and neurotic traits generally, seemed also to be of some importance. It was further demonstrated that phobic fears were related to emotional and social adjustment and this was true to an even greater extent for separation fears.