Anxiety sensitivity and menstrual cycle reactivity: Psychophysiological and self-report differences
ABSTRACT The role of anxiety sensitivity in the etiology and maintenance of various anxiety disorders has received increased attention over the past decade. To date, no studies have empirically addressed the relationship between anxiety sensitivity, physiological reactivity, and self-reports of anxiety symptomatology across the menstrual cycle. In this study, high- and low-anxiety sensitivity women in either the premenstrual or intermenstrual phase of the menstrual cycle completed questionnaires and listened to anxiety and neutral scenes while psychophysiological data were collected. In addition, mood ratings were obtained at baseline and after scene presentations. High anxiety sensitivity sitivity participants scored higher on measures of anxiety, depression, and menstrual distress than low anxiety sensitivity females. Premenstrually, high anxiety sensitivity females exhibited greater skin conductance response frequency and magnitude to the anxiety scenes compared to the other three groups. Similar results were obtained when initial levels of state anxiety and panic history were controlled for statistically. Furthermore, high anxiety sensitivity females reported more anxiety and depressed mood following presentation of anxiety scenes. Implications of these results for the mediation of menstrual cycle timing and anxiety sensitivity hypotheses are discussed.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: To determine the impact of gender roles, anxiety sensitivity, and somatic concerns on self-reported menstrual distress, two studies were conducted. In the first study using 278 primarily Caucasian college females, anxiety-sensitivity level, not current menstrual cycle phase, influenced reports of menstrual symptom severity and depression. Regardless of cycle phase at the time of self-report, women high in anxiety sensitivity reported significantly more depressed mood, trait anxiety, and retrospective menstrual symptoms. In the second study of 158 primarily Caucasian college females varying in anxiety sensitivity levels, adherence to sex role stereotypes, feminist beliefs, and illness attitudes were examined. Participants also completed measures of general premenstrual, most-recent premenstrual, and current menstrual symptoms. Women high in anxiety sensitivity reported the highest levels of sex-specificity, feminist embeddedness, and illness attitudes, with sex-specificity accounting for significant variance in current menstrual symptoms. Results are discussed within the context of the menstrual reactivity hypothesis, which proposes that beliefs surrounding the menstrual cycle and body sensations expectancies contribute to self-reports of greater menstrual distress. Women high in anxiety sensitivity appear to represent one subgroup vulnerable to menstrual reactivity.Sex Roles 01/2000; 43. · 1.47 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The ability to refuse unprotected sexual behavior is a skill that could prevent a number of negative health outcomes, including HIV/AIDS infection and transmission. The present study uniquely adds to the extant literature by investigating the effects of stress reactivity (indexed by cardiac reactivity) and emotion dysregulation on self-efficacy in avoiding potentially risky sexual behaviors among women. Participants were a sample of 60 women age 18–25 years, oversampled for a history of childhood maltreatment (40 women reported a history of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse or neglect). Findings indicated that emotion dysregulation mediated the relationship between severity of childhood maltreatment and self-efficacy for avoidance of sexual activities, but only for women who also showed high stress reactivity. These results suggest that women with a history of childhood maltreatment, and in particular those who are highly reactive to stress, would potentially benefit from prevention programs for risky sexual activities that aim to reduce emotion dysregulation.Sexual and Relationship Therapy 08/2012; 27(3). · 0.51 Impact Factor
- Radiotherapy and Oncology 05/2011; 99. · 4.86 Impact Factor