Anxiety Sensitivity: Theory, Research, and Treatment of the Fear of Anxiety

By Steven Taylor | Go to book overview

7
Anxiety Sensitivity and the Structure of Personality

Scott O. Lilienfeld Emory University

The constructs of anxiety sensitivity (AS; Lilienfeld, Turner, & Jacob, 1993, 1996; McNally, 1994; Reiss, 1991; Taylor, 1995a, 1995b) and fear of fear (FOF; Goldstein & Chambless, 1978) have attracted considerable attention in recent research and theorizing on panic disorder and other anxiety disorders. These constructs are closely related conceptually ( Reiss, 1987) and refer to individual differences in the tendency to experience fear in response to one's own anxiety symptoms. Because measures of AS and FOF--such as the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI; Reiss, Peterson, Gursky, & McNally, 1986), the Agoraphobic Cognitions Questionnaire (ACQ), and the Body Sensations Questionnaire (BSQ; Chambless, Caputo, Bright, & Gallagher, 1984)--tend to be moderately to highly correlated ( Asmundson, Norton, Lanthier, & Cox, 1996; Lilienfeld, 1997; McNally & Lorenz, 1987), they are heretofore regarded as alternative indicators of the AS construct and are referred to as AS measures in the remainder of this chapter. However, because different AS measures may assess somewhat different facets of fear of anxiety (e.g., fear of panic; Asmundson et al., 1996), their relations with variables relevant to anxiety disorders should not be expected to be identical.

Despite the considerable research attention accorded to the AS construct in recent years, relatively little is known concerning its relation to the broader personality domain. This chapter examines what is known regarding the association between AS measures and personality traits; it places particular emphasis on the location of the AS construct within hierarchical models of personality

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