Background. We report the prevalence, clinical characteristics,
frequency of mental health
treatment, demographic correlates, frequency of co-morbid psychiatric conditions,
health ramifications of DSM-IV blood-injection-injury phobia in the general
Method. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule (version III-R),
included questions on blood-injection-injury phobia, was administered to
1920 subjects in the
Baltimore ECA Follow-up Study.
Results. The estimated unweighted lifetime prevalence of
blood-injection-injury phobia was 3·5%.
The median age of onset was 5·5 years; 78% had had symptoms within
the last 6 months. Subjects
with blood-injection-injury phobia (cases) had higher lifetime histories
of fainting and seizures than
those without (non-cases). None reported seeking mental health treatment
specifically for phobia.
Prevalences were lower in the elderly and higher in females and persons
with less education. Cases had
significantly higher than expected lifetime prevalences of other
psychiatric conditions, including
marijuana abuse/dependence, major depression, obsessive–compulsive
disorder, panic disorder,
agoraphobia, social phobia and other simple phobia. Cases and
non-cases did not differ with regard
to usual health-care settings, regular care for specific medical
conditions, numbers of out-patient
visits or hospitalizations, or previous general anaesthesia or
live births. However, diabetics with
blood-injection-injury phobia had higher than expected rates of macrovascular
Conclusion. Blood-injection-injury phobia is common, especially
in females and those with less
education, and it is associated with several co-morbid psychiatric conditions.
No strong, broad
general health ramifications of this phobia are apparent. However,
diabetics with this phobia appear
at particular risk for complications; this deserves further study.