Anxiety Sensitivity And Risk-Taking Behaviors

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Correy Lynn Dowd (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Joshua Broman-Fulks

Abstract: Negative affective states (e.g., anxiety) can have a significant impact on risk-perception and risk-taking behaviors. High trait anxiety has been linked with risk-avoidant decision-making, though little is known regarding the specific facets of anxiety contributing to this negative association. Anxiety sensitivity (AS), or the fear of sensations commonly associated with anxiety due to believing that these sensations can lead to negative consequences, may be particularly relevant to risk decision-making given that risk-taking behaviors generate heightened somatic arousal and produce many of the sensations feared by individuals with high AS. The purpose of this study was to extend previous research by examining the relation between AS and self-reported risk-perception and risk-taking behaviors. A total of 271 participants completed a series of questionnaires that included measures of AS, risk-perception, and risk-taking. The results were consistent with previous research indicating individuals with higher levels of anxiety sensitivity perceived greater risk. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that AS predicted unique variance in risk perception over and above that accounted for by demographic variables and generalized anxiety. Although AS scores were positively correlated with likelihood to engage in ethical and health/safety risky behaviors, AS scores did not predict participants’ risky behaviors over and above neuroticism, anxiety, and demographic variables. The implications of these findings and potential directions for future research are discussed.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Dowd, C. (2015). "Anxiety Sensitivity and Risk-Taking Behaviors." Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2015

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