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Anxiety Sensitivity, Anxiety Frequency And The Prediction Of Fearfulness.

S. Reiss, R. A. Peterson, D. Gursky, R. McNally
Published 1986 · Psychology, Medicine

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Abstract A distinction is proposed between anxiety (frequency of symptom occurrence) and anxiety sensitivity (beliefs that anxiety experiences have negative implications). In Study 1, a newly-constructed Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI) was shown to have sound psychometric properties for each of two samples of college students. The important finding was that people who tend to endorse one negative implication for anxiety also tend to endorse other negative implications. In Study 2, the ASI was found to be especially associated with agoraphobia and generally associated with anxiety disorders. In Study 3, the ASI explained variance on the Fear Survey Schedule—II that was not explained by either the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale or a reliable Anxiety Frequency Checklist. In predicting the development of fears, and possibly other anxiety disorders, it may be more important to know what the person thinks will happen as a result of becoming anxious than how often the person actually experiences anxiety. Implications are discussed for competing views of the ‘fear of fear’.
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