Fear of ice cream?

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

 Gelatophobia is not the fear of gelato, or any other type of ice cream, but the fear of being laughed at. Although not exclusive to autistic people there it is more common in this group. An investigation from 2010 showed that gelatophobia is more likely to be found in people with Asperger’s Syndrome 45% N = 40 than in the controls (N = 83).

Some problems here:

  1. A sample size of 40 is nowhere near large enough for the data to be meaningful.
  2. Only one part of the autism spectrum was tested.
  3. The use of functioning in the report.

Still it’s a good start.

So autistic people are more likely to be afraid of ridicule than those not autistic. It rings true for me.

The research is here,, it you like a long read.

Later research shows that:

In a paper from 2018, Geraldine Leader et al. point out that previous research found that:[7]

  • 40% of individuals with eating disorders exceeded the threshold for a slight form of gelotophobia.
  • 35.7% of individuals with personality disorders.[8]
  • 24.5% of shame-bound neurotics.[9]

So autistic people have gelotophobia more often than those with personality disorders and eating disorders, which of course suggests that gelotophobia is an important—yet understudied—phenomenon in autism.The research from 2011 also indicated that people with Asperger syndrome are:

  • Less able to laugh at themselves (gelotophilia), but;
  • Enjoy laughing at others (katagelasticism) to the same extent as controls do.

This was found in an article here, , which also contains the ice cream joke I used at the beginning. of this post.

This could be me. Could because the small sample sizes mean that nothing can be said that is definite.

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