Fear of crossing streets

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Pedestrian crosswalk

The fear of crossing streets, or its terms dromophobia and agyrophobia, is a specific phobia that affects a person's ability to cross a street or roadway where cars or vehicles may be present. The term dromophobia comes from the Greek dromos, meaning racetrack.

Causes of dromophobia[edit]

Dromophobia may result from experiencing a road accident and thus may be classified as a subtype of panic disorder with agoraphobia (PDA).[1] As such, dromophobia, especially fear of crossing streets alone may be a component of accident-related posttraumatic stress disorder, as a reaction to a situation reminiscent of the past traumatic event.[2][3] Sometimes this behavior may be misinterpreted during PTSD symptom assessment as a caution (i.e., a normal learning behavior) rather than fear (which is an abnormal avoidant behavior). [4]

Fear of crossing streets may also result from an anticipatory anxiety related to person's limited mobility due to stiff person syndrome (SPS). In fact a person with SPS crossing a street may develop attacks of increasing stiffness or spasms.[5]

Dromophobia may be present in people, especially children, with autism, since crossing a road involves complex skills, such as judging the speed of an approaching car.[6]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Szasz, Thomas. A Lexicon of Lunacy. Transaction Publishers, 1993. ISBN 9781560000655. p 66.


  1. ^ Page, Andrew (1994). "Distinguishing Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia from Social Phobia". Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease. 182 (11): 611–7. doi:10.1097/00005053-199411000-00003. PMID 7964668. S2CID 28072899.[page needed]
  2. ^ Kuch, Klaus (November–December 1995). "A Brief Self-Rating Scale for PTSD After Road Vehicle Accident". Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 9 (6): 503–514. doi:10.1016/0887-6185(95)00029-n.
  3. ^ Keppel-Benson, Jane M.; Ollendick, Thomas H.; Benson, Mark J. (February 2002). "Post-Traumatic Stress in Children Following Motor Vehicle Accidents". Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 43 (2): 203–212. doi:10.1111/1469-7610.00013. PMID 11902599.
  4. ^ Scheeringa, Michael S. (2011). "PTSD in Children Younger than the Age of 13". Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma. 4 (3): 181–197. doi:10.1080/19361521.2011.597079. PMC 6379904. PMID 30792828. Also in: Nader, Kathleen (2016). Assessment of Trauma in Youths. pp. 21–36. ISBN 978-1134905966 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Rodrigues de Cerqueira, Ana Claudia; Ferreira Becerra, José Marcelo; Rozentha, Márcia; Emídio Nardi, Antônio (August 2010). "Stiff-Person Syndrome and Generalized Anxiety Disorder". Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria. 68 (4): 659–661. doi:10.1590/S0004-282X2010000400036. PMID 20730330.[page needed]
  6. ^ Strickland, Dorothy (1996). "A Virtual Reality Application with Autistic Children". Presence. MIT Press Journals. 5 (3): 319–329. doi:10.1162/pres.1996.5.3.319. S2CID 27235834.