Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 416–424 | Cite as

Anxiety Sensitivity and Health Anxiety in a Nonclinical Sample: Specificity and Prospective Relations with Clinical Stress

  • Bunmi O. Olatunji
  • Kate B. Wolitzky-Taylor
  • Lisa Elwood
  • Kevin Connolly
  • Bethany Gonzales
  • Tom Armstrong
Original Article


The present study examines the association between anxiety sensitivity (AS) and symptoms of hypochondriasis (a pattern of intense health anxiety) in a nonclinical sample. Findings from study 1 (n = 498) revealed a significant association between AS and health anxiety even after controlling for symptoms of depression and negative affect. However, the association between AS and health anxiety was not moderated by stress levels. Subsequent analysis did reveal a specific association between AS for physical concerns and health anxiety when controlling for other AS dimensions. Contrary to predictions, AS did not significantly predict residual change in symptoms of health anxiety over a 12-week period (n = 195) in Study 2. However, exploratory analyses suggest that some AS dimensions (e.g., physical concerns) may be more predictive of some facets of health anxiety (e.g., body vigilance) than others (e.g., illness severity). Findings from this study are discussed in the context of future research on the role of AS in the development of hypochondriasis.


Anxiety sensitivity Health anxiety Hypochondriasis Illness 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bunmi O. Olatunji
    • 1
  • Kate B. Wolitzky-Taylor
    • 2
  • Lisa Elwood
    • 3
  • Kevin Connolly
    • 4
  • Bethany Gonzales
    • 1
  • Tom Armstrong
    • 1
  1. 1.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.University of Texas-AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.Medical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  4. 4.University of Mississippi Medical CenterJacksonUSA

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