Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Wendy K Silverman

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

William Kurtines

Third Advisor's Name

Lindsay S. Ham

Date of Defense



The purpose of the present study was to examine the origins of anxiety sensitivity (AS) by assessing youths' learning experiences in relation to their AS symptoms and anxiety symptoms. Participants were 33 youths between 7 to 13 years old (M = 9.39 years, SD = 2.01). Youths were assessed using a structured interview and self-report measures. Chi-square analyses revealed no statistically significant differences in the proportions of boys vs. girls, Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic, and married vs. non-married. Pearson correlation analyses revealed that youths' AS learning experiences were significantly related to youths' AS and to youths' anxiety symptoms scores. Partial correlations between youths' learning experiences associated with AS symptoms in relation to AS scores controlling for anxiety symptoms effects were statistically significant. Findings were consistent with theory and suggest that learning mechanisms may be involved in AS acquisition and maintenance. The findings' implications are discussed regarding possible learning experiences' role in the development of AS.




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