The frequency, intensity, and content of specific fears in 299 children with and without mental retardation (ages 6 to 13 years) were investigated. The children with mental retardation reported a greater fear intensity than did younger children without mental retardation but did not differ in the number of fears reported. However, children with mental retardation reported both a greater frequency and intensity of fears than did similar-age peers without mental retardation. Gender differences in frequency and intensity of fears were assessed, and the most common fears (with and without regard to intensity ratings) of the groups were compared and implications for future research and practice presented.
The authors thank William M. Reynolds, Stephen N. Elliott, Michael Subkoviak, William Gardner, and Penelope Peterson for their critical feedback and valuable assistance with the study. We are very appreciative of the support and resources provided by the Waisman Center on Mental Retardation and Human Development and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and the participation of the administrators, staff, and students of the Wisconsin public school districts of Beloit, Madison, Oshkosh, and Racine. The opinions expressed in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Waisman Center on Mental Retardation or the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.