Category: Adult Anxiety

Symposium

Anxiety Sensitivity and Quality of Life among Adults with Dermatological Conditions

Sunday, November 19
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom B, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Anxiety Sensitivity | Behavioral Medicine
Presentation Type: Symposium

Background: Although anxiety disorders are common among dermatology patients (Gupta & Gupta, 2003), there is limited research examining the role of anxiety in dermatology symptoms. In one study, anxiety sensitivity (AS) was linked to dermatology conditions (Dixon et al., 2016), suggesting that dermatology patients may misinterpret and catastrophize physiological experiences that are inherent to dermatology conditions (e.g., redness in rosacea, sweating in hyperhidrosis). The purpose of the current study was to investigate relation between AS and quality of life in adults with dermatology conditions. We predicted that AS would be associated with poorer dermatology-related quality of life (DQOL), after controlling for relevant sociodemographic and dermatology symptom characteristics.

Method: Individuals from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (N = 823) were screened for the presence of a dermatology condition in the past year. Participants (n = 159; data collection ongoing) with a dermatology condition completed online self-report measures of demographics, medical history, AS (ASI-3), and DQOL (Skindex-16). This sample was 66.7% female with Mage = 33.51, SD = 9.59, and 81.1% identified as White.

Results: Three hierarchical linear regression models were used to examine the association of AS and DQOL Symptoms, Emotions, and Functioning scales, respectively. The full models each explained between 27.4 to 43.6% of the variance in DQOL. Results indicated that AS total predicted unique variance above and beyond demographics and dermatology symptoms in DQOL Symptoms (ΔR2 = .11, p < .001), Emotions (ΔR2 = .08, p < .001), and Functioning (ΔR2 = .16, p < .001). The differential associations of the AS subscales will be described.

Discussion: Findings demonstrate that AS is a significant predictor of poorer quality of life across the DQOL domains of symptom severity, functional impairment, and psychological distress among individuals with dermatology conditions. One implication is that psychological treatments that target reductions in AS may be beneficial for improving quality of life and decreasing the burden of dermatology symptoms.

Laura J. Dixon

Assistant Professor
University of Mississippi

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