Is anxiety sensitivity a predictor of PTSD in children and adolescents?

Department of Child Psychiatry, Medical School, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey.
Journal of Psychosomatic Research (Impact Factor: 2.84). 08/2008; 65(1):81-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2008.02.013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Anxiety sensitivity (AS) is the fear of the physical symptoms of anxiety and related symptoms. Longitudinal studies support AS as a vulnerability factor for development of anxiety disorders. This study aimed to investigate AS as a vulnerability factor in the development of childhood posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following traumatic experiences.
The study included 81 children 8-15 years of age who experienced the 1999 earthquake in Bolu, Turkey. The earthquake survivors were compared to a randomized group of age- and sex-matched controls 5 years after the earthquake. Both the subject and control groups were administered the Childhood Anxiety Sensitivity Index (CASI), State and Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAI-C), and Child Depression Inventory (CDI), while the PTSD symptoms of the subjects were assessed using the Child Posttraumatic Stress Reaction Index (CPTS-RI).
Subjects and controls did not differ significantly in CASI, STAI-C, or CDI scores. Multiple regression analysis showed that both trait anxiety and CASI scores predicted CPTS-RI scores of the subjects; the prediction by CASI scores was over and above the effect of trait anxiety.
The results of this study support the hypothesis that AS may be a constitutional factor, which might increase the risk of PTSD following traumatic experiences.

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