Phenomenon of Declining Anxiety Sensitivity Scores: A Controlled Investigation

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Joshua Broman-Fulks Ph.D, Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Background: Repeated administration of anxiety sensitivity measures can often produce declining scores, even in ostensible control groups, which is a significant concern for researchers. The reasons for these changes are as yet unknown, but could be because of regression to the mean in samples selected on extreme scores, exposure to general information about anxiety contained in psychiatric interviews, or mere exposure to anxiety sensitivity information. Methods: This study sought to experimentally evaluate these potential explanations using a comprehensive measure of anxiety sensitivity and its subcomponents, a non-anxiety sensitivity measure (self-esteem), and participants representing the full spectrum of anxiety sensitivity. Results: Results indicated significant decreases in anxiety sensitivity scores (but not self-esteem scores) that could not be accounted for by regression to the mean or exposure to information about anxiety in general. Conclusions: Several potential explanations for these findings are reviewed and implications for research study designs are discussed.

Additional Information

Broman-Fulks, J. J., Berman, M. E., Martin, H. M., Marsic, A., Harris, J. A. (2009). The phenomenon of declining anxiety sensitivity scores: A controlled investigation. Depression and Anxiety, 26(1): E1-E9. Published by Wiley (ISSN: 1520-6394). DOI: 10.1002/da.20436 The definitive version is available at
Language: English
Date: 2009

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