Evaluating emotional sensitivity and tolerance factors in the prediction of panic-relevant responding to a biological challenge

Amanda Kutz, Erin Marshall, Amit Bernstein, Michael J. Zvolensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study investigated anxiety sensitivity, distress tolerance (Simons & Gaher, 2005), and discomfort intolerance (Schmidt, Richey, Cromer, & Buckner, 2007) in relation to panic-relevant responding (i.e., panic attack symptoms and panic-relevant cognitions) to a 10% carbon dioxide enriched air challenge. Participants were 216 adults (52.6% female; Mage = 22.4, SD = 9.0). A series of hierarchical multiple regressions was conducted with covariates of negative affectivity and past year panic attack history in step one of the model, and anxiety sensitivity, discomfort intolerance, and distress tolerance entered simultaneously into step two. Results indicated that anxiety sensitivity, but not distress tolerance or discomfort intolerance, was significantly incrementally predictive of physical panic attack symptoms and cognitive panic attack symptoms. Additionally, anxiety sensitivity was significantly predictive of variance in panic attack status during the challenge. These findings emphasize the important, unique role of anxiety sensitivity in predicting risk for panic psychopathology, even when considered in the context of other theoretically relevant emotion vulnerability variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse research grant (1 R01 DA018734-01A1 ) awarded to Dr. Zvolensky. This paper was also supported by National Research Service Awards (F31 MH073205-01 and 1 F31 MH080453-01A1 ) granted to Amit Bernstein and Erin C. Marshall, respectively.


  • Anxiety sensitivity
  • Distress tolerance
  • Fear
  • Panic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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