Effects of a brief anxiety sensitivity reduction intervention on obsessive compulsive spectrum symptoms in a young adult sample

Kiara R Timpano, Amanda M. Raines, Ashley M. Shaw, Meghan E. Keough, Norman B. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Objective Anxiety sensitivity (AS) has been identified as a transdiagnostic cognitive risk factor for a wide range of affective disorders, including conditions within the obsessive compulsive (OC) spectrum. A growing body of research has demonstrated that directly reducing AS leads to subsequent reductions of other psychiatric symptoms, including anxiety, worry, and mood. To date, no study has examined the efficacy of a brief AS intervention on reducing OC and hoarding symptoms. Method Non-treatment seeking young adults (N = 104; 83.7% female; 81.7% Caucasian) were selected for having elevated levels of AS, and were then randomized into a single-session, computer-assisted AS intervention or a control condition. OC and hoarding symptoms were assessed at post-treatment, as well as at one week and one month follow-ups. Results Results revealed that the intervention, but not the control condition, reduced OC symptoms across the post-intervention follow-up period. Mediation analysis demonstrated that changes in AS mediated changes in OC symptoms due to the intervention. In contrast, the intervention did not have a specific effect on reducing hoarding symptoms. Conclusions These findings have important ramifications for understanding the relationship between AS and OC spectrum symptoms, and raise interesting treatment and prevention implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Anxiety sensitivity
  • Hoarding
  • Obsessive compulsive symptoms
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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