Category: Adult Anxiety
Anxiety sensitivity (AS), or the fear of anxiety sensations, has been shown to predict the onset and maintenance various forms of psychopathology. In addition, high AS predicts increased severity and impairment associated with a variety of physical health concerns, including asthma and some chronic pain conditions. However, relatively little is known regarding the relation between AS and arthritis. A recent study suggested that high AS and moderate experiential avoidance was associated with greater disability and poorer quality of life among individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. The present study sought to expand research on the topic by examining the relation between AS and arthritis in a large community sample of adults. Participants consisted of 985 community members who completed the Anxiety Sensitivity Index – 3, World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL), and a demographic questionnaire. Bivariate correlations were conducted between AS total and subscale scores and quality of life scores, and an independent samples t-test was conducted to examine whether AS scores significantly differed among individuals who did (n = 165) and did not (n = 720) have arthritis. In addition, moderation analyses were conducted to examine whether AS moderates the relation between arthritis status and quality of life. Results indicated that ASI-3 total and subscale scores were significantly correlated with WHOQOL scores (all ps < .01). Individuals with arthritis reported significantly higher ASI-3 scores and lower WHOQOL scores than individuals who did not have arthritis (ps .001). In addition, results indicated that ASI-3 scores moderated the relation between arthritis and WHOQOL scores. Specifically, individuals with arthritis and high AS reported the poorest quality of life, whereas individuals who did not have arthritis and reported low AS had the highest quality of life. These findings are consistent with previous research indicating that individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis along with high AS and moderate experiential avoidance report the poorest outcomes compared to those with low AS. These findings are also consistent with an expanding body of research indicating that high AS appears to negatively affect health-related impairment and quality of life among individuals with a variety of medical conditions.