Anxiety sensitivity as a specific and unique marker of anxious symptoms in youth psychiatric inpatients

Thomas E. Joiner, Norman B. Schmidt, Kristen L. Schmidt, Jeff Laurent, Salvatore J. Catanzaro, Marisol Perez, Jeremy W. Pettit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


We addressed several questions regarding the relation of anxiety sensitivity to anxious symptoms among 47 youth psychiatric inpatients (18 boys, 29 girls), ages 9-17 (M = 14.23, SD = 1.89). Participants completed measures of anxiety sensitivity, anxious and depressive symptoms, trait anxiety, and positive and negative affect; chart diagnoses were available. Consistent with hypotheses, we found that (a) anxiety sensitivity was associated with anxious symptoms, even controlling for trait anxiety and depressive symptoms; and (b) anxiety sensitivity displayed symptom specificity to anxious versus depressive symptoms (i.e., was associated with anxiety controlling for depression but not with depression controlling for anxiety). Furthermore, regarding factors of anxiety sensitivity, we obtained mixed support for our prediction that phrenophobia would be associated with both depression and anxiety, whereas fear of physical arousal would be associated with anxiety but not depression. Implications for the construct validity of anxiety sensitivity were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety sensitivity
  • Anxious
  • Depressive symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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