Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 106 (3), 355-64

The Role of Anxiety Sensitivity in the Pathogenesis of Panic: Prospective Evaluation of Spontaneous Panic Attacks During Acute Stress

Affiliations

The Role of Anxiety Sensitivity in the Pathogenesis of Panic: Prospective Evaluation of Spontaneous Panic Attacks During Acute Stress

N B Schmidt et al. J Abnorm Psychol.

Abstract

Expectancy theory posits that anxiety sensitivity may serve as a premorbid risk factor for the development of anxiety pathology (S. Reiss, 1991). The principal aim of the present study was to determine whether anxiety sensitivity acts as a specific vulnerability factor in the pathogenesis of anxiety pathology. A large, nonclinical sample of young adults (N = 1,401) was prospectively followed over a 5-week highly stressful period of time (i.e., military basic training). Anxiety sensitivity was found to predict the development of spontaneous panic attacks after controlling for a history of panic attacks and trait anxiety. Approximately 20% of those scoring in the upper decile on the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (R. A. Peterson & S. Reiss, 1987) experienced a panic attack during the 5-week follow-up period compared with only 6% for the remainder of the sample. Anxiety sensitivity also predicted anxiety symptomatology, functional impairment created by anxiety, and disability. These data provide strong evidence for anxiety sensitivity as a risk factor in the development of panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 82 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

Feedback