Valerie A. NOËL*, Karen LEWIS, Sarah E. FRANCIS, Peter G. MEZO
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
Anxiety sensitivity (AS) is most often described in its multidimensional and hierarchical form, consisting of three lower order factors: fear of physical symptoms, fear of publically observable symptoms, and fear of cognitive dyscontrol. The lower order factors of AS have been shown to be differentially predictive of panic disorder, social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. However, there is limited research exploring sex differences in these relationships. The present study examined three specific anxiety symptom clusters (i.e., physiological hyperarousal, worry, and social anxiety symptoms) and depressive symptoms and their relationship with measures of the three lower order factors of AS (i.e., physical concerns, social concerns, and mental incapacitation) in men and women. Sex differences were observed in the unique associations between the lower order factors and physiological hyperarousal and social anxiety symptoms; similar relationships between men and women, which were also consistent with the hierarchical structure of AS, were observed with worry and depressive symptoms.
Keywords: anxiety sensitivity, sex differences, anxiety, depression, men, women