Discomfort intolerance: Evaluation of incremental validity for panic-relevant symptoms using 10% carbon dioxide-enriched air provocation

Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, Michael J. Zvolensky, Amit Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present investigation examined the relation between discomfort intolerance and panic-relevant symptoms among 216 (117 women) young adults who participated in a biological challenge procedure. Partially consistent with hypotheses, after covarying for anxiety sensitivity, negative affectivity, and emotional acceptance, the intolerance subscale of the Discomfort Intolerance scale [DIS; Schmidt, N. B., Richey, J. A., & Fitzpatrick, K. K. (2006). Discomfort intolerance: development of a construct and measure relevant to panic disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 20, 263-280] was significantly incrementally related to increased post-challenge anxiety focused on bodily sensations, physical panic symptoms, and behavioral avoidance, but not cognitive panic symptoms. Inconsistent with prediction, the avoidance subscale of the DIS was not significantly related to any of the dependent variables. Results are discussed in relation to better understanding the role of discomfort intolerance as a unique explanatory factor in the context of panic psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse research grants (1 R01 MH076629-01, 1 R01 DA018734-01A1, and R03 DA16307-01) awarded to Dr. Zvolensky. Dr. Bernstein also acknowledges that this work was supported in part by VA Office of Academic Affairs and Health Services Research and Development Service Research funds. Data for the present study were collected in the Anxiety and Health Research Laboratory at the University of Vermont.


  • Anxiety
  • Avoidance
  • Biological challenge
  • Discomfort intolerance
  • Negative affectivity
  • Panic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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