The nationwide creepy clown craze has taken on a life of its own, creating reason for concern connected to the potential effects of unpredictability and danger. As we approach Halloween, Virginia Tech psychologist Thomas Ollendick cautions parents and family members about the more common fears and phobias of children and adolescents including clowns and other costumed characters.


“The behavior of clowns is oftentimes unpredictable – usually intentionally so, and most young people like this. It is fun. However, this same behavior scares some children because they do not know what to expect and hence cannot predict or control the clown’s, or other costumed character’s behavior. Many kids believe that such behavior can lead to harm and danger, possibly even death!” says Ollendick.


At Virginia Tech, Ollendick leads an effective Cognitive-Behavioral treatment program for fears and phobias. His randomized control trials, and those of others, show that interventions can be effective and serve to reverse the long-term and insidious effects of untreated fears and phobias. If untreated these fears can last a lifetime and lead to other problems in adolescence and adulthood.

To secure a live or recorded video interview with Thomas Ollendick from the Virginia Tech campus, contact Bill Foy at 540-998-0288, or Michael Stowe at 540-231-2611.  

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