Penis panics have occurred around the world, most notably in Africa and Asia. Local beliefs in many instances assert that such syndromes are often fatal. Genital retraction syndrome in Southeast Asia is known as Koro (Malaysian/Indonesian) or Shook yang (suo yang) in Chinese cultures. Psychological diagnosis and treatments are under development. It is becoming increasingly clear that these forms of mass hysteria are more common than previously thought.
The phenomenon is often, but not always, associated with occult belief, such as witchcraft. These panics frequently, but not exclusively, occur in places where access to education—particularly in science and human biology—is limited, or otherwise restricted (for example, when government policies restrict such education). Others have been reported under the influence of drug use. (Compare with castration anxiety.)