The Anxiety Sensitivity Connection To Depression

Jerry Kennard Health Pro
  • The fear of feeling anxious, known as anxiety sensitivity, has been linked to a higher risk of depression in several studies. According to recent findings by Penn State researchers, above average worriers already prone to anxiety sensitivity, are also vulnerable to depression.


    Andreas Viana and Brian Rabian published their findings in the December issue of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders. They highlight the fact that two of the four dimensions that make up the measure for anxiety sensitivity seem especially predictive of depression in above-average worriers. These are "fear of publically observable anxiety symptoms" and "fear of cognitive dyscontrol."

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    The study involved recruiting 94 participants of whom 74 were female. All were assessed as moderate to high worriers using two standardized questionnaires. Participants were then asked to complete the Beck Depression Inventory, a 21 item questionnaire used to determine intensity, severity and depth of depressive symptoms.


    One of the biggest things to emerge was the fear of being unable to concentrate properly on tasks. Viana also said, "the link exists in people who are afraid of symptoms that could potentially have social implications or symptoms of anxiety that may be subject to negative evaluation."


    What emerges from this study is the potential risk between anxiety sensitivity and depression. Therapeutic assessments for depression tend to focus mainly on depression symptoms rather than anxiety sensitivity. It may be the case that by assessing anxiety sensitivity, and helping to alter such perceptions, that depression may be preventable in those most prone.



    Penn State (2009, December 2). Fear of anxiety linked to depression in above-average worriers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 31, 2009, from

Published On: January 25, 2010