Anxiety sensitivity in adolescents: Factor structure and relationships to trait and symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression
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The current study examined the anxiety sensitivity construct in a large sample of normal Dutch adolescents aged 13–16 years (n=819). Children completed the Childhood Anxiety Sensitivity Index (CASI; Silverman, W. K., Fleisig, W., Rabian, B. and Peterson, R. A. (1991). Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 20, 162–168) and measures of trait anxiety, anxiety disorder symptoms and depression. Results showed that (1) anxiety sensitivity as indexed by the CASI seems to be a hierarchically organized construct with one higher-order factor (i.e., anxiety sensitivity) and three or four lower-order factors, (2) anxiety sensitivity and trait anxiety were strongly correlated, (3) anxiety sensitivity was substantially connected to symptoms of anxiety disorders (in particular of panic disorder and agoraphobia) and depression, and (4) anxiety sensitivity and trait anxiety both accounted for unique proportions of the variance in anxiety disorder symptoms. Altogether these findings are in agreement with those of previous research in adult and child populations, and further support the notion that anxiety sensitivity should be viewed as an unique factor of anxiety vulnerability.