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, 28 (1), 83-5

Anxiety Sensitivity and Panic Attacks in a Nonclinical Population


Anxiety Sensitivity and Panic Attacks in a Nonclinical Population

C D Donnell et al. Behav Res Ther.


In the present study, we administered the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI) and a modified version of the Panic Attack Questionnaire (PAQ) to 425 college students to determine whether high anxiety sensitivity ('fear of fear') occurs in the absence of a history of unpredictable ('spontaneous') panic attacks, or whether such attacks are a necessary precursor to high anxiety sensitivity. Based on their ASI scores, subjects were assigned to either the high, medium, or low anxiety sensitivity groups. High anxiety sensitivity subjects more frequently reported both a personal and family history of panic than did subjects in the other groups. Nevertheless, two-thirds of the high anxiety sensitivity subjects had never experienced an unpredictable panic attack. This suggests that the fear of anxiety can be acquired in ways other than through personal experience with panic.

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