Anxiety Symptomatology: The Association With Distress Tolerance and Anxiety Sensitivity

Meghan E. Keough, Christina J. Riccardi, Kiara R. Timpano, Melissa A. Mitchell, Norman B. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


Research focused on psychological risk factors for anxiety psychopathology has led to better conceptualization of these conditions as well as pointed toward preventative interventions. Anxiety sensitivity (AS) has been well-established as an anxiety risk factor, while distress tolerance (DT) is a related construct that has received little empirical exploration within the anxiety psychopathology literature. The current investigation sought to extend the existing literature by examining both DT and the relationship between DT and AS across a number of anxiety symptom dimensions, including panic, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive anxiety. Participants (N=418) completed a number of measures that assessed DT, AS, anxiety symptomatology, and negative affect. Findings indicated that DT was uniquely associated with panic, obsessive compulsive, general worry, and social anxiety symptoms, but that DT and AS were not synergistically associated with each of these symptom dimensions. These findings indicate that an inability to tolerate emotional distress is associated with an increased vulnerability to experience certain anxiety symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-574
Number of pages8
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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