Anxiety sensitivity and panic attack symptomatology
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The relationship between 23 specific panic attack symptoms and the 16 items of the Anxiety Sensitivity Index was investigated using a factor analytic procedure with a large sample (N = 209) of panic disorder patients. A five-factor model resulted in three panic symptom clusters (cardio-respiratory, dizziness-related, and cognitive symptoms) and two anxiety sensitivity factors (fear of physical symptoms and fear of psychological symptoms). The five-factor model accounted for 50% of the variance. There was some overlap between anxiety sensitivity and panic symptomatology and the cognitive panic symptom "fear of dying" loaded strongly on the anxiety sensitivity fear of physical sensations factor rather than on any of the panic symptoms factors. These results demonstrate that anxiety sensitivity can be independent of panic and are also consistent with a cognitive view of panic in which catastrophic cognitions that occur during a panic attack are more associated with a cognitive style or personality trait than with the severity of physical symptoms.
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