The Association Between Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Anxiety Sensitivity In a College Sample

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Background/Objectives: One-half of all U.S. adults will experience at least one traumatic event, and of those, approximately 11% develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Despite efficacious treatments for PTSD, one-third of people diagnosed still express symptoms after treatment.Thus, it is important to identify underlying factors that may be associated with PTSD symptom clusters to improve treatment efficacy. One potential factor is anxiety sensitivity (AS), or “the fear of fear,” and includes three different subfactors: physical, cognitive, and social concerns, yet few studies have examined this association using the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-3.

Method: Participants included 65 undergraduate students from a Southeastern University who were elevated on anxiety sensitivity cognitive concerns and experienced at least one traumatic event. Participants completed measures of trauma exposure, anxiety sensitivity, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and suicidal ideation.

Results: Results revealed that AS physical symptoms had the most robust association with potential PTSD symptoms and individual PTSD symptom clusters with the exception of the avoidance and numbing cluster

Conclusions: These findings may help clarify the nature of the relationship between PTSD symptoms and AS using the most updated measure of AS (ASI-3).

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Psychological Reports

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