In order to investigate the relationship between the extent to which clinical fears are prepared and clinically relevant characteristics of these fears (i.e. severity, age of onset and treatment outcome). the records of 63 obsessional and phobic patients were examined. Four independent raters scored the usable records (N = 55) on preparedness. The preparedness scores were combined and related to objective indices of severity (patients' scores on the Fear Survey Schedule, the Zung Depression Scale and the Maudsley Obsessional-Compulsive Inventory, as well as the treatment duration), onset ages and treatment outcomes (pre-treatment minus post-treatment MOCI scores, for a subsample of obsessional patients only). In contrast to earlier studies, it was found that product-moment correlations among preparedness ratings were relatively low and that prepared fears did not make up a majority in the sample. Indices of severity either did not correlate at all or correlated negatively with preparedness ratings. The positive correlation between preparedness and onset ages reached borderline significance. Evidence suggestive of a resistance to treatment of prepared fears was obtained.