Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 468–478 | Cite as

Changes in Anxiety Sensitivity Following Group Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder

  • Matilda E. Nowakowski
  • Karen Rowa
  • Martin M. Antony
  • Randi McCabe
Original Article


The current study examined changes in anxiety sensitivity following cognitive behavior therapy as a predictor of treatment outcome in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) and patients with panic disorder (PD). One-hundred ninety-seven patients with a principal diagnosis of SAD (n = 108) or PD (n = 89) completed the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI; Reiss et al in Behav Res Ther 24:1–8, 1986), Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21; Lovibond and Lovibond in Behav Res Ther 33:335–343, 1995), Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN; Connor et al in Br J Psychiatry 176:379–386, 2000) and Panic Disorder Severity Scale-Self Report (PDSS-SR; Houck et al in Depress Anxiety 15:183–185, 2002; Shear et al in Am J Psychiatry 154:1571–1575, 1997) pre and post disorder specific treatment. For the SAD group, changes on ASI Physical and ASI Social subscales made significant contributions to the prediction of posttreatment social anxiety symptoms over and above pretreatment social anxiety symptoms and changes in depression scores. For the PD group, changes on the ASI Physical subscale made a significant contribution to the prediction of posttreatment panic symptoms over and above pretreatment panic symptoms and changes in depression scores. The present study provides further support that, while the global construct of anxiety sensitivity is a transdiagnostic factor across the anxiety disorders, the lower-order dimensions of anxiety sensitivity have specificity for particular anxiety disorders.


Social anxiety disorder Panic disorder Anxiety sensitivity Cognitive behavior therapy 



The authors would like to thank Lisa Young for her assistance with data collection and data management.


The preparation of this manuscript was supported by a TD Grant in Medical Excellence Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded to the first author, and the Research Institute of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

M. Nowakowski, K. Rowa, M. Antony, and R. McCabe declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matilda E. Nowakowski
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karen Rowa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martin M. Antony
    • 1
    • 3
  • Randi McCabe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Anxiety Treatment and Research ClinicSt. Joseph’s Healthcare HamiltonHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural NeurosciencesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada

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