For example, people often refer to an elevator as claustrophobic, but I'm curious whether it is more accurate to say that an elevator causes its occupants to feel claustrophobic.
claustrophobic can mean both:
- pertaining to or suffering from claustrophobia.
- tending to induce claustrophobia: a small, airless, claustrophobic room.
Let's start here.
claustrophobia: Extreme or irrational fear of confined places.
So, with that definition in mind. It's not grammatically correct to say that an elevator is claustrophobic.
But, I had heard it used that way, so I looked it up.
- Causing anxiety; disquieting.
So, in light of that definition, yes, you can use it that way.