The association between anxiety sensitivity and atopy in adult asthmatics

J Behav Med. 2008 Aug;31(4):331-9. doi: 10.1007/s10865-008-9164-5. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


There is growing evidence linking psychological stress to atopic disease, particularly asthma. Anxiety sensitivity, which is the fear of anxiety-related symptoms, may be particularly important in the study of anxiety and atopic disease. The present study examined the association between atopy and anxiety sensitivity in adult asthmatics. A total of 217 asthma patients who had undergone standard pulmonary function and allergen skin prick testing were included. Participants completed the Anxiety Sensitivity Index, Penn State Worry Questionnaire, Type D Personality Scale-16 and Beck Depression Inventory-II on the day of their asthma clinic visit. Total Anxiety Sensitivity Index score was found to be significantly higher in atopic (M = 17.15, SE = .9) versus non-atopic (M = 12.68, SE = 1.5) asthmatics, independent of age, sex, smoking status, asthma severity, asthma duration, and anxiolytic medication use (F = 6.11, p = .014). There was no evidence for a significant association between any of the other questionnaire scores and atopic status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Arousal
  • Asthma / psychology*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Illness Behavior
  • Intradermal Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Vital Capacity