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How does anxiety sensitivity increase risk of chronic medical conditions?

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Clinical Psychology

Published online on


--- - |2 Abstract Anxiety sensitivity (AS; fear of anxiety‐related symptoms) is an established transdiagnostic risk factor for psychiatric disorders and is related to a variety of chronic medical conditions. However, AS has not been established as a risk factor for chronic medical conditions. In this study, we review studies on AS and chronic medical conditions (and symptoms/behaviors related to chronic medical conditions) and propose four pathways through which AS may increase risk of chronic medical conditions: (a) increasing fear of medical condition‐specific symptoms, (b) perpetuating avoidance of healthy activities, (c) promoting engagement in unhealthy behaviors, and (d) increasing risk of detrimental pathophysiological and pathomechanical alterations. We also discuss the potential utility of using AS reduction interventions as a means of reducing risk of chronic medical conditions. - 'Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, Volume 25, Issue 3, September 2018.