Factor analysis and validation of a self-report measure of impaired fear inhibition

Tom J. Barry, Helen M. Baker, Christine H. M Chiu, Barbara C. Y Lo, Jennifer Y. F Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Difficulties with inhibiting fear have been associated with the emergence of anxiety problems and poor response to cognitive–behavioural treatment. Fear inhibition problems measured using experimental paradigms involving aversive stimuli may be inappropriate for vulnerable samples and may not capture fear inhibition problems evident in everyday life. We present the Fear Inhibition Questionnaire (FIQ), a self-report measure of fear inhibition abilities. We assess the FIQ’s factor structure across two cultures and how well it correlates with fear inhibition indices derived experimentally. Adolescent participants from Hong Kong and England completed the FIQ, with the English participants also completing a conditioning and extinction task to assess fear inhibition problems. Across both cultures, the FIQ showed a single factor structure and low FIQ scores, or worse fear inhibition problems, were associated with self-reports of heightened anxiety. Correlation of FIQ scores with experimental indices, whilst controlling for anxious symptoms, suggests that the FIQ represents a valid and unique measure of fear inhibition abilities. The FIQ might be used to assess more ecologically valid fear inhibition problems particularly amongst people who have or who are at risk of anxiety diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-523
Number of pages12
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


  • adolescence
  • Anxiety
  • cognitive behavioural treatment
  • extinction
  • fear
  • safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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