Understanding the associations among anxiety sensitivity, distress tolerance, and discomfort intolerance: A comparison of three models

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Emerging work has identified several related constructs that appear to be relevant to anxiety psychopathology including anxiety sensitivity (AS), distress tolerance (DT) and discomfort intolerance (DI). AS refers to the fear of the consequences of anxiety-related sensations. DT measures tolerance of negative emotions, whereas DI measures tolerance of uncomfortable physical sensations. Questions, however, have been raised regarding the overlap among AS, DT, and DI. The present study conducted confirmatory factor analyses to test three models of emotional and physical tolerance to determine which model provided the best fit for the associations among AS, DT, and DI. Nonclinical individuals (N= 411) and individuals with anxiety psychopathology (N= 253) completed self-report questionnaires. Results supported a hierarchical factor structure with 2 higher order factors with AS as a lower order factor of DT. The implications of these findings for the conceptualization of the relationships among AS, DT, and DI are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-154
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Keywords

  • Anxiety psychopathology
  • Anxiety sensitivity
  • Discomfort intolerance
  • Distress tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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