Ethnoracial differences in anxiety sensitivity: Examining the validity of competing anxiety sensitivity index subscales

Lora Rose Hunter, Meghan E. Keough, Kiara R. Timpano, Norman B. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Despite the increasing number of Americans who are considered to be a part of an ethnoracial minority group, there have been few investigations of the cross-cultural validity of measures of psychopathology. The limited existing literature suggests potential differences between African American (AA) and European American (EA) individuals with respect to the utility of self-report measures, including anxiety sensitivity. Physical, mental, and social domains of anxiety sensitivity are measured using subscales derived from a 3-factor model reported in EA samples despite evidence suggesting that anxiety sensitivity in AA samples is characterized by more distinct physical concerns. The current study compared the concurrent and predictive validity of the traditional anxiety sensitivity subscales representing 3 domains and a 4-subscale formulation based on predictions about the construct in AA samples. Comparisons of both AA (N = 41) and EA (N= 298) samples are included. Findings suggest some ethnoracial group differences in the concurrent and predictive validity of anxiety sensitivity subscales, specifically supporting the appropriateness and specificity of the 4-factor model of anxiety sensitivity in AA samples. Implications are discussed, including identification of sociocultural mechanisms that might influence psychometric properties of measures of anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-516
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • African american
  • Anxiety
  • Race
  • Risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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