Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Valentiner, David P.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Anxiety sensitivity; Panic disorders


Anxiety sensitivity, or the fear of anxiety-related sensations based on beliefs of their harmful consequences, has been implicated as a risk factor for the development of panic attacks and panic disorder. The construct of anxiety sensitivity is most commonly measured with the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI), a 16-item self-report inventory that has demonstrated good reliability and validity in dozens of studies on clinical and nonclinical populations. Recent research has shown that the ASI, once believed to be unifactorial, may actually be multifactorial in nature. The goal of the present study was to examine the factor structure of the ASI and the reliability and validity of its dimensions. One thousand seventy-one undergraduate volunteers completed the ASI, a modified version o f the Panic Attack Questionnaire (PAQ), and a demographics questionnaire. A principal components analysis with oblique rotation and parallel analysis yielded three ASI dimensions: Physical Concerns, Cognitive Concerns, and Social Concerns. Subscales created to assess these dimensions demonstrated a variety of differential relationships with gender and ethnicity. Individuals classified as nonclinical panickers based on their modified PAQ responses scored higher than nonpanickers on the Physical Concerns and Cognitive Concerns subscales o f the ASI. Participants with a history of spontaneous panic attacks did not differ on their ASI scores from those with only situational panic attacks, while the occurrence of panic attacks in the past month was related to higher scores on the Cognitive Concerns subscale. Severity ratings for panic attack symptoms were ABSTRACT uniquely related only to scores on the Cognitive Concerns subscale. The results are discussed in terms of cognitive theories of panic, and limitations of the present study and directions for future research are addressed.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [112]-123).


viii, 129 pages




Northern Illinois University

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