Article

Anxiety sensitivity and menstrual cycle reactivity: Psychophysiological and self-report differences

University of Maine USA
Journal of Anxiety Disorders (Impact Factor: 2.96). 09/1996; DOI: 10.1016/0887-6185(96)00019-9

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.

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    Archives of Women s Mental Health 08/2012; 15(6). DOI:10.1007/s00737-012-0302-2 · 1.96 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The 2:1 female-to-male sex difference in the prevalence of panic disorder (PD) suggests that there is a sex-specific vulnerability involved in the etiology and/or maintenance of this disorder. The purpose of this paper is to present a new conceptual model, which emphasizes the interaction between a cognitive vulnerability for PD, anxiety sensitivity, and the effects of progesterone and its metabolite, allopregnanolone, on behavioral and physiological responses to stress during the premenstrual phase. This interaction is proposed to be a potential sex-specific pathway that may initiate and/or maintain panic and anxiety symptoms in women. This review paper presents preliminary evidence from both the human and animal literatures to support this new model. Specific topics reviewed include: psychopathology related to the menstrual cycle, anxiety sensitivity and its relationship to the menstrual cycle, PMS, and PMDD, anxiety-modulating effects of progesterone and its neuroactive metabolite, allopregnanolone, and how results from the neuroendocrine literature relate to psychopathology or symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle.
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