Media Exposure and Dimensions of Anxiety Sensitivity: Differential Associations With PTSD Symptom Clusters

J Anxiety Disord. 2008 Aug;22(6):1021-8. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.11.002. Epub 2007 Nov 13.


The present investigation examined the impact of anxiety sensitivity (AS) and media exposure on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Reactions from 143 undergraduate students in Hamilton, Ontario were assessed in the Fall of 2003 to gather information on anxiety, media coverage, and PTSD symptoms related to exposure to a remote traumatic event (September 11th). Regression analyses revealed that the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI; [Peterson, R. A., & Reiss, S. (1992). Anxiety Sensitivity Index manual, 2nd ed. Worthington, Ohio: International Diagnostic Systems]) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory trait form (STAI-T; [Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., & Lushene, R. E. (1970). State-trait anxiety inventory. Palo Alto, California: Consulting Psychologists Press]) total scores were significant predictors of PTSD symptoms in general. The ASI total score was also a significant predictor of hyperarousal and avoidance symptoms. Subsequent analyses further demonstrated differential relationships based on subscales and symptom clusters. Specifically, media exposure and trait anxiety predicted hyperarousal and re-experiencing symptoms, whereas the ASI fear of somatic sensations subscale significantly predicted avoidance and overall PTSD symptoms. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Mass Media*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sensation / physiology
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Students / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television