Assessment of anxiety sensitivity in depressed, older patients and its relation to hypochondriacal concerns

Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Wendy K. Silverman

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

William Kurtines

Third Advisor's Name

Arlene Huysman

Fourth Advisor's Name

Jonathan Tubman

Fifth Advisor's Name

Leslie Frazier

Date of Defense



Anxiety disorders in older adults are often overlooked as part of other mental disorders or as part of medical illnesses. Theoretically, anxiety sensitivity is a common component in anxiety disorders, a personality construct and a fundamental fear. Anxiety sensitivity was assessed in a sample of older adults: 53 depressed, M age = 78.8 years; and 53 healthy controls, M age = 70.9 years. This study examined whether anxiety sensitivity: (1) explained unique variance beyond that explained by trait anxiety, (2) was observed in the depressed group in levels similar to individuals who suffer from non-panic, anxiety disorders, and (3) correlated with current number of medical illnesses, previous number of medical illnesses, and hypochondriasis. The results indicated that anxiety sensitivity: predicted hypochondriasis better than trait anxiety, was present in the depressed group similarly to individuals suffering from non-panic, anxiety disorders, and was strongly associated with hypochondriacal concerns.



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