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*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-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
Early online date10 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Study 1 was supported by General Research Fund, Research Grants Council, University Grants Committee, HKSAR (project no: 17406114). TJB and JYFL were funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London and a King's College London Parenting Leave fund. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.


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


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