Media exposure and dimensions of anxiety sensitivity: Differential associations with PTSD symptom clusters. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22(6), 1021-1028

Anxiety and Illness Behaviour Laboratory and Department of Psychology, University of Regina, Regina, SK, Canada.
Journal of Anxiety Disorders (Impact Factor: 2.96). 08/2008; 22(6):1021-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.11.002
Source: PubMed


The present investigation examined the impact of anxiety sensitivity (AS) and media exposure on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Reactions from 143 undergraduate students in Hamilton, Ontario were assessed in the Fall of 2003 to gather information on anxiety, media coverage, and PTSD symptoms related to exposure to a remote traumatic event (September 11th). Regression analyses revealed that the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI; [Peterson, R. A., & Reiss, S. (1992). Anxiety Sensitivity Index manual, 2nd ed. Worthington, Ohio: International Diagnostic Systems]) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory trait form (STAI-T; [Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., & Lushene, R. E. (1970). State-trait anxiety inventory. Palo Alto, California: Consulting Psychologists Press]) total scores were significant predictors of PTSD symptoms in general. The ASI total score was also a significant predictor of hyperarousal and avoidance symptoms. Subsequent analyses further demonstrated differential relationships based on subscales and symptom clusters. Specifically, media exposure and trait anxiety predicted hyperarousal and re-experiencing symptoms, whereas the ASI fear of somatic sensations subscale significantly predicted avoidance and overall PTSD symptoms. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

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    • "The most recent version of the ASI (the ASI-3) has well-validated scales measuring the hypothesized subcomponents of physiological symptoms, cognitive concerns, and social concerns. The original ASI, used in the present study, does not have well validated subscales examining these sub-constructs, although some researchers (e.g., Collimore et al. 2008; Zvolensky and Forsyth 2002) have broken the items into subscales based on factor analysis of the ASI (Zinbarg et al. 1999). We therefore completed an exploratory analysis using these subscales to determine whether the intervention differentially impacted these subscales. "
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    ABSTRACT: Substance use disorders (SUDs) and anxiety disorders commonly co-occur, yet to date no empirically-supported treatments for this combination of disorders has been developed. One potential way of treating these issues simultaneously may be to target anxiety sensitivity (AS), which is a risk factor for development of both SUDs and problematic anxiety. The objectives of the current study were to develop and pilot test a brief treatment aimed at reducing AS and substance use. Twenty-one individuals concurrently participating in a community-based intensive outpatient SUD treatment program received six 1.5-h sessions of an AS-targeted intervention, primarily utilizing interoceptive exposures, cognitive challenging, and psychoeducation about the relationship between substance use and anxiety. At post-treatment, participants had significant reductions in AS as measured by the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (d = 1.62; ASI; Reiss et al. in Behav Res Ther 24(1):1–8, 1986), and significant decreases in percent days abstinent from substances (Cohen’s d = 1.35). Average scores on the ASI at pre-treatment were in the clinical range (M = 41.5, SD = 9.97) but had moved to the nonclinical range on the ASI at 3 months follow-up (M = 20.8, SD = 9.39; intent to treat analysis). Participants had large reductions in the Depression–Anxiety–Stress Scale (Lovibond and Lovibond in Manual for the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales. Psychology Foundation Monograph, Sydney, 1995) anxiety subscale scores but remained in the moderate range on this subscale at follow-up. Subjective reports of both participants and therapists described the intervention as tolerable, effective, and desired. Results of the current open trial suggest that a relatively brief (
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    • "Yet, several issues require further examination. First, much research examining anxiety sensitivity has relied on cross-sectional designs (e.g., Asmundson & Stapleton, 2008; Bryant & Panasetis, 2001; Collimore et al., 2008). Although such research can yield suggestive findings, prospective studies that incorporate multiple waves of data collection provide a better basis for drawing inferences regarding causality (Finkel, 1995). "
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    • "Forgas and Moylan (1987) and Chou, Lee and Ho (2007), for example, show that a change in mood induced by viewing happy, neutral, or sad movie clips, is sufficient to alter social judgments and risk-taking tendency, respectively. 3 In the context of disasters, Collimore et al. (2008) find that exposure to media coverage of traumatic events provokes an anxiety level that is so strong that it may be associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology. Similarly, Schuster et al. (2001), Schlenger et al. (2002) and Silver et al. (2002) find that watching television coverage of 9/11 is positively correlated with substantial symptoms of post traumatic stress. "
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