Scopophobia, also called scoptophobia or ophthalmophobia, is an excessive and irrational fear of being seen or stared at. It is derived from the Greek skopia, meaning ‘observation’ and phobos, meaning ‘fear’.
Scopophobia is a specific phobia of a specific social situation that may or may not be a part of social anxiety or social phobia. Social anxiety is a broader concept implying a fear of social situations and interactions in general.
Often, an individual suffering from scopophobia will perceive that they’re being watched even though they are not. In addition, they ascribe mal-intent to their imaginary observers, thinking that they’re being judged negatively.
While it’s normal for humans to experience some discomfort in social situations, those with scopophobia are likely to experience intense anxiety or even panic. Hence, severe scopophobia can interfere with an individual’s daily activities.
Taking the scopophobia test
This test consists of 15 items on a 5-point scale ranging from Strongly agree to Strongly disagree. When answering the items, consider how you react to being watched in uncomfortable social situations.
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