The present study evaluated anxiety sensitivity, along with depression and pain severity, as predictors of pain-related fear and anxiety in a heterogeneous chronic pain population (n=68). The results indicated that the global anxiety sensitivity factor, as indexed by the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI: Reiss, Peterson, Gursky & McNally, 1986: Reiss, S., Peterson, R. A., Gursky, M. & McNally, R. J. (1986). Anxiety, sensitivity, anxiety frequency, and the prediction of fearfulness. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 24, 1-8) total score, was a better predictor of fear of and anxiety about pain relative to the other relevant variables. Additionally, the physical concerns subscale of the ASI was a better predictor of pain-related fear dimensions characterized by high degrees of physiological symptoms and behavioral activation on both the Fear of Pain Questionnaire-III (FPQ-III; McNeil & Rainwater, 1998: McNeil, D. W. & Rainwater, A. J. (1998). Development of the Fear of Pain Questionnaire-III. Journal of Behavioral Medicine.) and Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale (PASS; McCracken, Zayfert & Gross, 1992: McCracken, L. M., Zayfert, C. & Gross, R. T. (1992). The Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale: Development and validation of a scale to measure fear of pain. Pain, 50, 67-73). In a related way, the ASI psychological concerns subscale was a better predictor of pain-related anxiety dimensions characterized by cognitive symptoms of anxiety. Overall, these findings reiterate the importance of anxiety sensitivity in understanding pain-related fear and anxiety, and suggest anxious and fearful responding can be predicted more accurately with higher levels of correspondence between a particular anxiety sensitivity domain and events that closely match that fear.
- Anxiety sensitivity