Clinical Psychology 1 (2008), 1-2, 7-26

Original scientific paper

Anxiety Sensitivity and Psychosomatic Symptoms in Children and Adolescents

Anita Vulić-Prtorić - Department of Psychology, University of Zadar, Zadar
Marta Jović - Department of Psychology, University of Zadar, Zadar
Renata Coha - Department of Pediatrics, General Hospital Dr. Josip Benčević, Slavonski Brod
Marina Grubić - Department of Pediatrics, Clinical Hospital Center Zagreb, Zagreb
Josip Lopižić - Department of Psychiatry, General Hospital Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik
Patricija Padelin - Department of Pediatrics, General Hospital Zadar, Zadar

Fulltext (croatian, pages 7-26).pdf

Anxiety sensitivity is described as the fear of anxiety symptoms and physical sensations associated with anxiety. Understanding this fear of fear has particular importance in prevention and therapy of anxiety disorders, and especially in health psychology and ways of coping with health problems and illness in children and adolescents. The paper presents the results of the research in the sample of 184 participants in the age between 10 and 15 years, divided in 4 samples: 1) children with headaches in pediatric care (N=43), 2) children with asthma in pediatric care (N=46), 3) children reporting significant number of psychosomatic symptoms (N=53), and 4) healthy controls (N=42). These four samples were compared according to the level of the reported anxiety sensitivity. Significant differences in anxiety sensitivity were found between three clinical samples and control sample, with children in clinical samples being more afraid of their anxiety symptoms. Differences in anxiety sensitivity were not found between clinical samples (children with headaches, asthma and psychosomatic symptoms). Furthermore, specific patterns of relations between anxiety sensitivity and other aspects of anxiety (separation anxiety, social anxiety, test anxiety, etc.). Results from this study indicate the importance of anxiety sensitivity in the prevention and therapy in helping children with health children.

anxiety sensitivity, psychosomatic symptoms, asthma, headache, children

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