Anxiety Sensitivity Across Four Ethnoracial Groups



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Anxiety sensitivity is an individual difference that represents the fear of fearful and/or anxious cognitive and physiological experiences. It is associated with several Axis I disorders, but it appears to be most specific to panic disorder and, to a lesser extent, posttraumatic stress disorder. Research has shown that anxiety sensitivity is multidimensional and these dimensions incrementally add to the prediction of relationships with anxiety-related phenomenology. There is mostly agreement about the content of the dimensions although it is not universal. There is less agreement about the factor structure of the Anxiety Sensitivity Index, a widely used measure of anxiety sensitivity, across cultural groups. There is also variation in the epidemiology and phenomenology of anxiety, as well as physiological health problems with similar symptoms to anxiety disorders, across ethnoracial groups. There are theories suggesting that these differences may be due to environmental factors and learning. This investigation seeks to add clarity to the cross-cultural research in the psychometric properties of the Anxiety Sensitivity Index across four cultural groups in both clinical and analog samples. The results from the clinical sample support a three-factor hierarchical model. Although the extracted factor structures observed in the analog sample are not as clear, results from a confirmatory factor analysis support invariance across groups. Clinical implications are discussed.



Anxiety sensitivity, Anxiety sensitivity index, Panic, Anxiety, Factor analysis