Anxiety sensitivity and panic attacks: A 1-year longitudinal study

Wen Li*, Richard E Zinbarg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


The hypothesis that anxiety sensitivity (AS) is a risk factor for panic genesis has obtained compelling support, but the clinical/practical importance of AS in panic genesis has been questioned. In addition, the association between panic experience and AS increase has not been clearly demonstrated. Through this 1-year longitudinal study among college students, the authors replicated the vulnerability effect of AS on panic onset. By measuring AS according to its hierarchical structure, the authors found an AS subfactor - AS-Mental Incapacitation Concerns - to be a significant predictor of panic onset. The authors also demonstrate that AS is not only statistically significant but also clinically/pragmatically important for the onset of panic. The association between panic and increased AS was confirmed in this study, although it remains for future research to conclude whether this association should be attributed to a "scar effect" of panic. Theoretical and methodological issues regarding tests of the scar effect hypothesis are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-161
Number of pages17
JournalBehavior Modification
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007


  • Anxiety sensitivity
  • Effect size
  • Panic
  • Scar effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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