Study Reveals Fear of Small Spaces in Yorkshire

Study Reveals Fear of Small Spaces in Yorkshire claustrophobia

Despite its vast stretches of unspoilt countryside, over a third (35%) of people from God’s Own County suffer from claustrophobia, according to new research. That’s higher than the UK average of 32%.

The fear of small spaces is worse for women, affecting 36%, compared to 27% of men. The top three nightmare scenarios for Yorkshire folk are crowded places (mentioned by 60%), a tiny room with no windows (58%) and a ‘tunnel’ MRI scanner (50%).

Reported symptoms include a general feeling of panic (78%), shortness of breath/hyper-ventilation (49%) and sweating/chills (37%).

“Previous studies have indicated that 12% of people suffer from claustrophobia,” comments Professor Francis Smith, Medical Director at Medserena Upright MRI Centre in Manchester. “So for our new research to show it’s actually around a third of adults suggests the problem is more widespread than originally thought”.

Study Reveals Fear of Small Spaces in Yorkshire mri machine

No claustrophobia in an open, upright MRI scanner

“Very nervous”

Nearly two thirds (65%) of those scanned in an enclosed MRI tube said felt very nervous. A further 8% from Yorkshire and the Humber required sedation, and another 14% asked for the process to be stopped altogether.

Yorkshiremen do at least show more steel when it comes to coping with diagnostic tests. Nationally, a quarter of UK adults with claustrophobia (25%) said they would prefer to leave a medical condition untreated, if they were very frightened of the test to diagnose it. In Yorkshire the figure was just 17% – with a stoic 71% saying they would conquer their fear of the procedure in order to get the condition analysed.

“With our MRI scanners you can sit down or stand up, and they’re completely open at the front – so you don’t feel claustrophobic at all”, adds Professor Smith.

Nearly a quarter of sufferers thought being trapped in a confined space during childhood was the root cause of their claustrophobia, with a further fifth citing a traumatic or stressful life experience such as a bereavement.

Avoiding situations known to trigger attacks is the most common step taken to help (74%), whilst 47% rely on breathing techniques and 31% try to focus on peaceful and relaxing images.

To learn more about non-claustrophobic MRI scans, visit:


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