Associations between lower order anxiety sensitivity dimensions and DSM-5 posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms

Anxiety sensitivity (AS), a well-established individual difference variable reflecting a tendency to fear bodily sensations associated with arousal, has been implicated in the development and maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite these associations, little research has examined the relations between AS subfactors (eg physical, cognitive, and social) and PTSD symptoms and none have examined these associations in the context of DSM5 (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) PTSD clusters (ie intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions/mood, and arousal). Participants included 50 veterans presenting to an outpatient Veteran Affairs Clinic for psychological services. Upon intake, veterans completed a brief battery of self-report questionnaires to assist with differential diagnosis and treatment planning. Results revealed unique associations between lower order AS dimensions, in particular the cognitive concerns dimension, and all four DSM5 PTSD symptom clusters. Given the malleable nature of AS cognitive concerns, as well as the growing number of veterans in need of care, future research should determine the extent to which targeting this cognitive risk factor reduces PTSD symptom severity among veterans.

Read the full paper: Raines, A. M., Walton, J. L., McManus, E. S., Cuccurullo, L. A. J., Chambliss, J., Uddo, M., & Franklin, C. L. (2017). Associations between lower order anxiety sensitivity dimensions and DSM-5 posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Cognitive behaviour therapy, 46(2), 162-173. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/16506073.2016.1244559

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