Anxiety sensitivity and panic attacks in an asthmatic population

Behav Res Ther. 1994 May;32(4):411-8. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(94)90004-3.


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among anxiety sensitivity, the experience of frequent, spontaneous panic attacks, and pulmonary function in individuals with asthma. Ninety-three asthmatics participated by completing a battery of questionnaires and a spirometric assessment. Twenty-three percent of the asthmatics reported a history of spontaneous panic attacks with 9.7% reporting attacks that were severe and frequent enough to meet the DSM-IIIR criteria for panic disorder (PD). Anxiety sensitivity (ASI) scores, but not pulmonary function, was significantly related to PD. In addition, we compared the asthmatics (with and without PD) to 10 clinically diagnosed PD Ss without asthma and to 32 nonanxious, nonasthmatic controls on the ASI, the Body Sensations Questionnaire, and the Agoraphobic Cognitions Questionnaire. Whereas Ss with PD (asthmatic and nonasthmatic) displayed significant elevations on these measures compared to those without PD, the presence of asthma alone had no effect. The present study concurs with that of Porzelius et al. [Behaviour Research and Therapy, 30, 75-77 (1992)] in extending the validity of the cognitive model of PD to individuals with pulmonary disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Arousal
  • Asthma / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Panic*
  • Personality Inventory