Anxiety sensitivity moderates relations among tobacco smoking, panic attack symptoms, and bodily complaints in adolescents

Ellen W. Leen-Feldner, Michael J. Zvolensky, Joelle Van Lent, Anka A. Vujanovic, Tina Bleau, Amit Bernstein, Amy Bielawski-Branch, Matthew T. Feldner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study evaluated associations among smoking and anxiety sensitivity (fear of anxiety and anxiety related sensations) in predicting panic attack symptomatology, somatic complaints, and depressive symptomatology in a community sample of adolescents (ages 12 to 17 years; N=206). As predicted, the combination of high levels of anxiety sensitivity and being a current smoker predicted panic symptomatology and somatic complaints, but not depressive symptomatology. These findings suggest anxiety sensitivity may moderate the relation between smoking and prototypical panic psychopathology variables (panic attacks and somatic complaints) even after controlling for gender and negative affectivity, and that these associations are specific to panic-relevant processes. The primary implication of the study findings is that there may be segments of the adolescent population who are at relatively greater risk for panic-related problems by virtue of individual differences in AS and smoking status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-79
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This project was supported by a grant from Child & Adolescent Research and Training, Inc. awarded to the first author, National Institute on Drug Abuse research grants (R03 DA16307-01 and 1 R21 DA016227-01) and a Faculty Research Grant from the Anxiety Disorders Association of America awarded to the second author, and a National Research Service Award predoctoral fellowship (F31 MH66430-01) awarded to the last author. The authors thank staff at the Northeastern Family Institute, as well as research assistants Kate Follansbee, Stephanie Sinisi, Lindsay Van Zanten, Marc Hartigan, and Justin McCormick for their assistance with this project.


  • Adolescents
  • Anxiety sensitivity
  • Depressive symptomatology
  • Panic symptomatology
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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