Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High Anxiety May Lead To More Serious Maladies, Research Suggests

Date:
January 8, 1999
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
While an occasional bout of anxiety is normal, people who are particularly sensitive to anxiety symptoms run a greater risk of developing psychological problems or even physical illness, new research suggests.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- While an occasional bout of anxiety is normal, people who are particularly sensitive to anxiety symptoms run a greater risk of developing psychological problems or even physical illness, new research suggests.

Researchers evaluated 1,296 Air Force Academy cadets during basic training and tested them for anxiety sensitivity -- the degree to which a person believes that symptoms of anxiety, like shortness of breath, may have negative health consequences. Results showed that those cadets who scored higher on an anxiety sensitivity test were more likely to end up in counseling during basic training.

"Anxiety sensitivity is a pattern of thinking that can affect health," said Norman Schmidt, associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University. "Just having this type of thinking pattern puts a person at greater risk for developing physical or mental impairment."

Results showed that women cadets with high anxietysensitivity were particularly likely to end up in counseling during the highly stressful time of basic training.

The researchers found that these women cadets visited counselors more than twice as often as did males with similar anxiety levels and females with low anxiety sensitivity.

Schmidt conducted the study with Darin Lerew of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. The study appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation.

The researchers evaluated the cadets during five weeks of mandatory basic training. The cadets filled out a series of questionnaires addressing the prevalence of anxiety sensitivity and other psychological risk factors. At the end of basic training, the researchers measured how often the cadets had visited a counselor, had gone to the clinic for a physical illness or had been absent from activity due to illness.

In addition to anxiety sensitivity, the researchers evaluated two other psychological risk factors -- body vigilance and discomfort intolerance -- that could lead to psychological or physical impairment.

Body vigilance is the attention people give to bodily sensations, such as symptoms that may indicate health problems. Discomfort intolerance is the degree to which a person can accept unpleasant physical sensations. It goes beyond pain to include all types of unpleasant physical symptoms, such as pressure and numbness.

The results showed that people with high levels of body vigilance were more likely to visit the hospital during basic training, and more likely to report being sick. People who scored higher on ratings of discomfort intolerance also took more sick days. While body vigilance and discomfort intolerance were independent risk factors for impairment, both seemed to also contribute to anxiety sensitivity.

"Someone who is more sensitive to internal bodily changes is going to be at greater risk for identifying a benign internal symptom as dangerous," Schmidt said. "And someone who doesn't tolerate unpleasant bodily sensations very well could be at risk for developing an anxiety disorder."

Schmidt said the fact that anxiety affected women more than men may have something to do with how males and females interpret stress.

"Women are at greater risk for anxiety disorders than men and there is some evidence to suggest that gender differences in this particular type of thinking pattern (anxiety sensitivity) may be part of the reason why," he said.

Schmidt said the study's findings could apply to other stressful situations outside of basic training, such as a change in job situation or lifestyle or working under a tight deadline.

"The presence of these risk factors could lead to an increased likelihood of health-seeking behaviors due to exaggerated concerns about physical and mental well-being," Schmidt said. "Many people with such concerns are likely to seek out assistance without realizing they're experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression."

The research was supported by a grant from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "High Anxiety May Lead To More Serious Maladies, Research Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 January 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990108075952.htm>.
Ohio State University. (1999, January 8). High Anxiety May Lead To More Serious Maladies, Research Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990108075952.htm
Ohio State University. "High Anxiety May Lead To More Serious Maladies, Research Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990108075952.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins