Physiological Arousal and Anxiety Sensitivity in Socially Anxious Youth: Implications for Treatment

Mar 17, 09 Physiological Arousal and Anxiety Sensitivity in Socially Anxious Youth: Implications for Treatment

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Sensitivity in Socially Anxious Youth: Implications for Treatment A review of: Anderson, E.R. & Hope, D.A. (2009). The relationship among social phobia, objective and perceived physiological reactivity, and anxiety sensitivity in an adolescent population. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23, 18-26 by Denise Fournier. Research on social phobia has introduced a number of theories to explain the development and maintenance of this anxiety disorder. The existing research regarding the physiological differences between anxious and non-anxious youth has introduced possible explanations for the development and maintenance of anxiety experienced by socially phobic individuals. However, the research leaves many questions unanswered. The preponderance of research that has been conducted to study the evidence of physiological arousal in socially phobic individuals under anxiety-provoking situations has been conducted with adult samples, with only three studies having been conducted with a sample of children and adolescents. To attempt to provide clarity to the issue of physiological arousal and its manifestation in socially phobic youth, Anderson and Hope developed a study with the primary goal of investigating objective versus perceived physiological arousal and the differences in anxiety sensitivity between non-anxious and socially phobic adolescents. The current study included a sample of 392 adolescents (213 girls and 179 boys) between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. Eighty five participants with social phobia were included in the study to investigate the differences in objective and perceived physiological arousal between the anxious and non-anxious adolescents. Anderson and Hope (2009) hypothesized that the adolescents with social phobia would exhibit greater increases in blood pressure and heart rate, and show higher levels of perceived physiological arousal and anxiety sensitivity than the non-anxious participants. The Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI; Beck, Epstein, Brown, & Steer, 1988) was used to measure perceived anxiety and perceived physiological arousal during two anxiety-provoking tasks. Heart rate and blood pressure measurements were also assessed during each task. The results of the study indicated no significant difference between the anxious and non-anxious participants on physiological arousal, as measured by heart rate and blood pressure....

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