Anxiety sensitivity among anxious children and adolescents: Disorder-specific sensitivities, gender differences and relation to parental anxiety sensitivity

Yeraz Meschian, Fordham University

Abstract

Anxiety Sensitivity (AS) is a cognitive risk factor that is believed to play a central role in the development and maintenance of fear and anxiety disorders in adults, adolescents and children. AS is believed to have a hierarchical structure in clinically anxious youth of one second-order global AS factor and four first-order AS factors (Mental, Social, Disease, and Unsteady Concerns). The present study had 3 aims: investigating AS differences across (1) diagnosis and (2) gender; additionally, (3) change in parental AS was investigated after offspring completed CBT treatment for anxiety. (1) Children and adolescents with primary diagnoses of Panic Disorder, Social Phobia and Generalized Anxiety Disorder were grouped together to evaluate whether AS is higher among these disorders as compared with the remaining anxiety disorders. Support was not found for this hypothesis—on the contrary, CASI Disease concerns were higher in the diagnostic group containing OCD. (2) No significant gender differences were found. (3) The Parent Analysis found significant reductions on all measures of parental AS after offspring completed CBT treatment for their anxiety disorders, Reductions in global child AS after CBT predicted reductions in all parental AS concerns. Reductions in global parent AS after offspring CBT also predicted reductions in all child AS concerns. A possible feedback mechanism is implicated for reduction in child Mental AS, specifically, on reduction in parental Social AS, which predicts reduction in Unsteady child AS. Further, a feedback mechanism between child Disease AS concerns and parent Social AS was found. Implications for targeted treatment and recommendations for future research are discussed.^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Meschian, Yeraz, "Anxiety sensitivity among anxious children and adolescents: Disorder-specific sensitivities, gender differences and relation to parental anxiety sensitivity" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3563407.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3563407

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