The past three decades have witnessed an increase in the number of empirical investigations examining the phenomenology of anxiety and related conditions. There has also been an increase in efforts to understand differences that may exist between ethnic groups in the expression of the anxiety disorders. In addition, there is now substantial evidence that a variety of treatment approaches (most notably behavioral and cognitive behavioral) are efficacious in remediating anxiety. However, there continues to be comparatively few treatment outcome studies investigating the efficacy of anxiety treatments among minority populations. In this paper, we review the extant treatment outcome research for African American, Hispanic/Latino[a] American, Asian American, and Native Americans suffering with one of the anxiety disorders. We discuss some of the specific problems with the research in this area, and then provide specific recommendations for conducting treatment outcome research with minority populations in the future.
African American; Asian American; Hispanic/Latino[a] American; Native American; Anxiety Disorders; Treatment Outcome
Disgust and mental contamination (or feelings of dirtiness and urges to wash in the absence of a physical contaminant) are increasingly being linked to traumatic event exposure and posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptomatology. Evidence suggests disgust and mental contamination are particularly relevant to sexual assault experiences; however, there has been relatively little direct examination of these relations. The primary aim of the current study was to assess disgust and mental contamination-based reactivity to an individualized interpersonal assault-related script-driven imagery procedure. Participants included 22 women with a history of traumatic sexual assault and 19 women with a history of traumatic non-sexual assault. Sexual assault and PTS symptom severity predicted greater increases in disgust, feelings of dirtiness, and urges to wash in response to the traumatic event script. Finally, assault type affected the association between PTS symptom severity and increases in feelings of dirtiness and urges to wash in response to the traumatic event script such that these associations were only significant among sexually assaulted individuals. These findings highlight the need for future research focused on elucidating the nature of the relation between disgust and mental contamination and PTS reactions following various traumatic events.
PTSD; Posttraumatic Stress; Sexual Assault; Disgust; Mental Contamination
The Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory (SPAI) is a commonly used self-report measure of social phobia that has demonstrated adequate reliability, convergent validity, discriminant validity, and criterion-related validity. However, research has yet to address whether this measure functions equivalently in (a) individuals with and without a diagnosis of social phobia and (b) males and females. Evaluating measurement equivalence is necessary in order to determine that the construct of social anxiety is conceptually understood invariantly across these populations. The results of the current investigation, using a series of nested factorial models proposed by Vandenberg and Lance (2000), provide evidence for strong equivalence across 420 individuals with and without diagnoses of social anxiety disorder and across male and female samples. Accordingly, these results provide psychometric justification for comparison of SPAI scores across the symptom continuum and sexes.
social phobia; anxiety; measurement equivalence; invariance
The evidence base for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat child emotional and behavioral symptoms following exposure to trauma in youth is compelling, but relatively few studies are available on preschool children and on moderators of treatment outcomes. This paper examines maternal and child characteristics as moderators of posttraumatic stress (PTS) treatment outcomes in preschool children. Outcome data from a previously published randomized trial in three to six year old preschool children with diagnostic interview data from participating mothers were used. Hypotheses were tested via hierarchical linear modeling. Maternal depression was associated with higher initial child posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and was associated with increasing PTSD symptom trends at follow up suggesting potential child PTSD symptom relapse. Maternal PTSD symptoms similarly predicted differential child separation anxiety symptom change but not child PTSD symptom change. Targeting dyads with child PTSD symptoms and maternal depression or PTSD symptoms with enhanced interventions may be a useful strategy to improve treatment maintenance.
moderators of outcome; posttraumatic stress; cognitive behavioral therapy; children
Little is known about the links between anxiety disorders and parent-child attachment disorganization and quality of peer relationships in late adolescence. This study examined the quality of attachment and peer relationships among adolescents with and without anxiety disorders in a sample of 109 low-to moderate-income families. Psychopathology was assessed with the SCID-I. Attachment disorganization and dysfunction in peer relationships were measured using semi-structured interviews and behavioral observations. Adolescents with anxiety disorders and comorbid conditions showed higher levels of attachment disorganization across three measurement approaches, as well as higher levels of dysfunction in peer relationships than those with no Axis I diagnosis. Adolescents without anxiety disorders but with other Axis I disorders differed only in the quality of school relationships from those with no diagnoses. The pattern of results suggests that pathological anxiety, in the context of other comorbidities, may be a marker for more pervasive levels of social impairment.
attachment disorganization; social dysfunction; anxiety disorders; late adolescents
We compared the psychometric performance of two validated self-report anxiety- symptom measures when rated by people with dementia versus collaterals (as proxies). Forty-one participants with mild-to-moderate dementia and their respective collaterals completed the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory, the Penn State Worry Questionnaire-Abbreviated, and a structured diagnostic interview. We used descriptive and nonparametric statistics to compare scores according to respondent characteristics. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were calculated to establish the predictive validity of each instrument by rater type against a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. Participant and collateral ratings performed comparably for both instruments. However, collaterals tended to give more severe symptom ratings, and the best-performing cut-off scores were higher for collaterals. Our findings suggest that people with mild-to-moderate dementia can give reliable self-reports of anxiety symptoms, with validity comparable to reports obtained from collaterals. Scores obtained from multiple informants should be interpreted in context.
worry; anxiety; elders; dementia; self-ratings; proxy ratings
This paper reports on the development and initial psychometric evaluation of the Treatment Adherence Survey-patient version (TAS-P), a brief instrument designed to assess patient adherence to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy recommendations for OCD. Eighty individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were administered the TAS-P as part of the intake interview of a prospective, observational study of the course of OCD. Results demonstrated excellent test-retest reliability. Responses on the TAS-P were significantly correlated with scores on a self-report measure of general treatment adherence and with data collected from a chart-review, demonstrating concurrent validity. Treatment adherence was not explained by demographic variables. However, participants who reported nonadherence to CBT recommendations had more severe OCD symptoms at the time of intake than those who did not endorse CBT nonadherence (mean Y-BOCS = 23.27+7.5 versus 18.20+8.0, respectively). Results suggest that the TAS-P is a promising instrument for assessing reasons for nonadherence to recommendations for CBT and pharmacotherapy interventions.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Treatment Adherence; Psychometric Properties; Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy; Pharmacotherapy
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a heterogeneous condition, comprised of multiple symptom domains. This study used aggregate composite scales representing three core OCD dimensions (Checking, Cleaning, Rituals), as well as Hoarding, to examine the discriminant validity, diagnostic specificity, and predictive ability of OCD symptom scales. The core OCD scales demonstrated strong patterns of convergent and discriminant validity – suggesting that these dimensions are distinct from other self-reported symptoms – whereas hoarding symptoms correlated just as strongly with OCD and non-OCD symptoms in most analyses. Across analyses, our results indicated that Checking is a particularly strong, specific marker of OCD diagnosis, whereas the specificity of Cleaning and Hoarding to OCD was less strong. Finally, the OCD Checking scale was the only significant predictor of OCD diagnosis in logistic regression analyses. Results are discussed with regard to the importance of assessing OCD symptom dimensions separately and implications for classification.
obsessive compulsive disorder; symptoms; specificity; hoarding; clinical population; discriminant validity
Cognitive theories of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suggest that associative memory processes may play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of the disorder. In the current study we examined the effect of associative pair rehearsal on recall ability for threatening and non-threatening information using the retrieval-practice paradigm in individuals with PTSD, traumatized controls (TC), and non-traumatized controls (NAC). Across word type, NACs demonstrated a typical retrieval-induced forgetting effect. However, individuals with PTSD benefited less from rehearsal, and failed to inhibit recall of unpracticed words in practiced categories. Participants in the TC group displayed a retrieval-induced forgetting effect similar to those individuals in the PTSD group. These findings are consistent with research indicating that individuals with PTSD may derive less benefit from rehearsal and display general inhibitory difficulties when compared to non-traumatized controls.
PTSD; Memory; Cognition; Information processing
The psychometric properties of the Leyton Obsessional Inventory–Child Version Survey Form (LOI-CV Survey Form) and the Short Leyton Obsessional Inventory–Child Version Survey Form (Short LOI-CV Survey Form) were examined in a clinical sample of 50 children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The internal consistency of the LOI-CV and Short LOI-CV Survey Forms were acceptable and poor, respectively (α = .79 and .65). The LOI-CV Survey Form was significantly and moderately correlated with child-rated OCD-related impairment, but was not significantly correlated with any other measures of OCD symptom frequency or severity, OCD-related impairment, global symptom severity, child reports of anxiety and depressive symptoms, and parent reports of children’s obsessive-compulsive, internalizing, and externalizing symptoms. Modest support for the cognitive-behavioral treatment sensitivity of the LOI-CV Survey Form (Cohen’s d = 0.98) but not the Short LOI-CV Survey Form (Cohen’s d = 0.09) was demonstrated. Diagnostic sensitivity was poor for the LOI-CV Survey Form at both pre- (0.14) and post-treatment (0.06). Overall, these results suggest that the psychometric properties of the LOI-CV and Short LOI-CV Survey Forms are not adequate for use as a screening instrument or in assessing symptom severity in pediatric OCD.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Leyton Obsessional Inventory–Child Version Survey Form; Children; Assessment; Reliability; Treatment; Validity
Recent evidence supports a negative association between anxiety and cognitive control. Given age-related reductions in some cognitive abilities and the relation of late life anxiety to cognitive impairment, this negative association may be particularly relevant to older adults. This critical review conceptualizes anxiety and cognitive control from cognitive neuroscience and cognitive aging theoretical perspectives and evaluates the methodological approaches and measures used to assess cognitive control. Consistent with behavioral investigations of young adults, the studies reviewed implicate specific and potentially negative effects of anxiety on cognitive control processes in older adults. Hypotheses regarding the role of both aging and anxiety on cognitive control, the bi-directionality between anxiety and cognitive control, and the potential for specific symptoms of anxiety (particularly worry) to mediate this association, are specified and discussed.
Late-life anxiety; Worry; Older adults; Cognitive control; Inhibition
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with functional abnormalities within aneurocircuitry that includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and medial prefrontal cortex. Evidence of structural abnormalities within these regions, and their association with PTSD severity and symptom burden is, however, sparse. The present study evaluated the relation between indices of gray matter volume and PTSD symptom severity using voxel-based morphometry. Fifteen individuals meeting DSM-IV criteria for PTSDcompleted the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale and underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging. Greater PTSD severity and avoidance/numbing were correlated withincreasedgray matter volume of the right amygdala-hippocampal complex. Greater hyper-arousal was associated with reducedgray matter volume in the left superior medial frontal gyrus. Findings are consistent with current neurocircuitry models of PTSD, which posit that the disorder is associated with structural and functional variance within this distributed network.
magnetic resonance imaging; chronic post-traumatic stress disorder; prefrontal cortex; hippocampus; amygdala
Paroxetine alone is not sufficient to decrease alcohol use in socially anxious alcoholics seeking anxiety treatment. We tested the hypothesis that adding a brief-alcohol-intervention (BI) to paroxetine would decrease alcohol use. All subjects (N = 83) had a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder, endorsed drinking to cope with anxiety, were NIAAA-defined at-risk drinkers, and were randomized to either paroxetine alone, or paroxetine plus BI. Both groups showed significant improvement in both social anxiety severity (F(5,83) = 61.5, p < 0.0001) and drinking to cope (e.g. F(4,79) = 23, p < 0.0001) and these two constructs correlated with each other (B = 3.39, SE = 0.696, t(71) = 4.88, p < 0.001). BI was not effective at decreasing alcohol use (e.g. no main effect of group, all p values >0.3). Paroxetine decreased social anxiety severity in the face of heavy drinking and decreasing the anxiety was related to a concurrent decrease in coping related drinking. BI was not effective at decreasing drinking or drinking to cope.
Social anxiety; Social phobia; At-risk drinking; Brief interventions; Drinking to cope
Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) has a high level of symptom overlap and comorbidity with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (GSAD). We examined whether the presence of comorbid AvPD adds significant clinically relevant information for individuals seeking treatment for GSAD. Results suggested that AvPD was significantly associated with poorer quality of life and greater disability in univariate, but not multivariate analyses. Endorsement of more AvPD symptoms was associated with increased disability, increased risk of intimacy, and lower social support, even after covariate adjustment. Specifically, AvPD item 3, hard to be “open” even with people you are close to, was most strongly correlated with quality of life and disability. A binary diagnosis of AvPD alone adds little beyond a marker of greater GSAD severity and depression among patients with GSAD, while a specific feature of AvPD not captured by the GSAD diagnosis, namely emotional guardedness, may be associated with greater impairment.
Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (GSAD); Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD); Severity Continuum Hypothesis; Major Depressive Disorder (MMD); Social Phobia; Anxiety
Risk-taking behavior involves making choices with uncertain positive or negative outcomes. Evidence suggests that risk-taking behavior is influenced by emotional state. One such emotional experience is social anxiety, which has been related to both risk-avoidant and risk-seeking decision making. The present study examined a community sample of 34 adolescents grouped into low (Low SA Group) and high (High SA Group) social anxiety (SA). Both groups were compared on changes in performance on a risk taking task (Balloon Analogue Risk Task) between a social threat condition (modified Trier Social Stress Test, High Stress) and a control condition (Low Stress). These conditions were administered on different days, and the order was counterbalanced across subjects. A group x condition interaction revealed that the High SA Group showed greater risk-taking behavior when exposed to the High Stress Condition compared to the Low Stress Condition, while the Low SA Group evidenced no difference between the two conditions. Conceivable interpretations for the increased risk behavior under the condition of social stress for those high in social anxiety are discussed as well as implications for understanding the complex relationship between social anxiety and risk behavior.
Risk-taking behavior; social anxiety; adolescent; in-vivo anxiety manipulation
This study examines prevalence and correlates of help seeking for emotional problems among undergraduate female rape victims. A national college sample of women endorsing a lifetime history of rape (n=228) interviewed in 2006 to assess demographic characteristics, rape history, rape characteristics, psychopathology, and substance abuse. Participants were asked if they ever sought help for emotional problems, and what type(s) of services were sought (medical professional, religious figure, or mental health professional). Prevalence of help seeking was 52%. Of help-seekers, 93% went to a mental health professional, 48% went to a medical doctor, and 14% sought religious counsel. Only PTSD was related to ever seeking help (OR=2.35). Findings suggest that university-based mental health and medical facilities should be well prepared to identify and treat PTSD and other rape-related sequelae. Health promotion campaigns are needed to target substance abusing and depressed rape victims, who were less likely to seek help.
posttraumatic stress disorder; help seeking; college; rape
A growing body of literature suggests that virtual reality is a successful tool for exposure therapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Virtual reality (VR) researchers posit the construct of presence, defined as the interpretation of an artificial stimulus as if it were real, to be a presumed factor that enables anxiety to be felt during virtual reality exposure therapy (VRE). However, a handful of empirical studies on the relation between presence and anxiety in VRE have yielded mixed findings. The current study tested the following hypotheses about the relation between presence and anxiety in VRE with a clinical sample of fearful flyers: (1) presence is related to in-session anxiety; (2) presence mediates the extent that pre-existing (pre-treatment) anxiety is experienced during exposure with VR; (3) presence is positively related to the amount of phobic elements included within the virtual environment; (4) presence is related to treatment outcome. Results supported presence as a factor that contributes to the experience of anxiety in the virtual environment as well as a relation between presence and the phobic elements, but did not support a relation between presence and treatment outcome. The study suggests that presence may be a necessary but insufficient requirement for successful VRE.
Exposure therapy; Virtual reality; Specific phobia; Anxiety disorders
Emerging evidence has documented comorbidity between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) among individuals with a history of traumatic events. There is growing recognition of the importance of disgust in each of these conditions independently. No study, however, has examined the potential role of disgust in these conditions following traumatic event exposure. The current study examined the unique role of peritraumatic fear, self-focused disgust, and other-focused disgust in predicting posttraumatic stress symptoms and contamination-based OC symptoms among 49 adult women (Mage = 28.37, SD = 13.86) with a history of traumatic interpersonal victimization. Results demonstrated that intensity of peritraumatic self-focused disgust was significantly related to contamination-based OC symptoms while peritraumatic fear and other-focused disgust were related to posttraumatic stress symptoms. These results highlight the need for future research aimed at elucidating the nature of the association between disgust experienced during traumatic events and subsequent psychopathology.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Disgust
This study examined the structure of PTSD comorbidity and its relationship to personality in a sample of 214 veterans using data from diagnostic interviews and the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire-Brief Form (MPQ-BF; Patrick, Curtin, & Tellegen, 2002). Confirmatory factor analyses supported a three factor model composed of Externalizing, Fear and Distress factors. Analyses that examined the location of borderline personality disorder revealed significant cross-loadings for this disorder on both Externalizing and Distress. Structural equation models showed trait negative emotionality to be significantly related to all three comorbidity factors whereas positive emotionality and constraint evidenced specific associations with Distress and Externalizing, respectively. These results shed new light on the location of borderline personality disorder within the internalizing/externalizing model and clarify the relative influence of broad dimensions of personality on patterns of comorbidity.
•Aetiology of relationship between anxiety sensitivity and anxiety is unclear.•We examined this longitudinal association in twin sample (8 and 10 years).•Anxiety sensitivity was broadly associated with all anxiety subtypes over time.•Twin analyses revealed genetic stability of these longitudinal associations.•Non-shared environment had unique and time-specific influence on variables.
Anxiety sensitivity, a belief that symptoms of anxiety are harmful, has been proposed to influence development of panic disorder. Recent research suggests it may be a vulnerability factor for many anxiety subtypes. Moderate genetic influences have been implicated for both anxiety sensitivity and anxiety, however, little is known about the aetiology of the relationship between these traits in children. Self-reports of anxiety sensitivity and anxiety symptoms were collected from approximately 300 twin pairs at two time points. Partial correlations indicated that anxiety sensitivity at age 8 was broadly associated with most anxiety subtypes at age 10 (r = 0.11–0.17, p < 0.05). The associations were largely unidirectional, underpinned by stable genetic influences. Non-shared environment had unique influences on variables. Phenotypic results showed that anxiety sensitivity is a broad predictor of anxiety symptoms in childhood. Genetic results suggest that childhood is a developmental period characterised by genetic stability and time-specific environmental influences on anxiety-related traits.
Anxiety; Anxiety sensitivity; Genetics; Twins; Panic disorder; Separation anxiety; General anxiety
We describe the rationale, method, and intake demographic and clinical findings of the Harvard/Brown Anxiety Research Project-Phase II (HARP-II). HARP-II is the first prospective, observational, longitudinal study to describe the characteristics and course of anxiety in African American, Latino, and Non-Latino White individuals. Participants met criteria for at least one of the following disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia, Agoraphobia without history of Panic Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Initial intake data, collected between 2004 and 2011, are presented for 165 African American, 150 Latino, and 172 Non-Latino White participants. Participants evidenced substantial psychiatric comorbidity (mean number of Axis I disorders = 3.4), and moderate to severe symptoms and functional impairment. HARP-II will examine clinical course, in the context of potential socio-cultural and individual moderators (e.g., discrimination, acculturation, negative affect). Results should lead to improved understanding, prognostics, and treatment of anxiety in diverse populations.
longitudinal study; anxiety; African American; Latino; Hispanic; ethnicity; minority
The current study compared ethnic minority and European Americanclinically-referred anxious youth (N = 686; 2–19 years) on internalizing symptoms (i.e., primary anxiety and comorbid depression) and neighborhood context. Data were provided from multiple informants including youth, parents, and teachers. Internalizing symptoms were measured by the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children, Child Depression Inventory, Child Behavior Checklist and Teacher Report Form. Diagnoses were based on the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for Children. Neighborhood context was measured using Census tract data (i.e., owner-occupied housing, education level, poverty level, and median home value). Ethnic minority and European American youth showed differential patterns of diagnosis and severity of anxiety disorders. Ethnic minority youth lived in more disadvantaged neighborhoods. Ethnicity and neighborhood context appear to have an additive influence on internalizing symptoms in clinically-referred anxious youth. Implications for evidence-based treatments are discussed.
anxiety disorders; youth; ethnic minorities; neighborhood context
African Americans are underrepresented in OCD treatment centers and less likely to experience a remission of symptoms. This study examines the barriers that prevent African Americans with OCD from receiving treatment. Seventy-one adult African Americans with OCD were recruited and administered the modified Barriers to Treatment Participation Scale (BTPS) and the Barriers to Treatment Questionnaire (BTQ). Comparing the BTQ between a European American Internet sample (N=108) and the African American OCD sample (N=71) revealed barriers unique to African Americans, including not knowing where to find help and concerns about discrimination. A Mokken Scale Analysis of the BTPS in the African American participants identified seven major barriers, including the cost of treatment, stigma, fears of therapy, believing that the clinician will be unable to help, feeling no need for treatment, and treatment logistics (being too busy or treatment being too inconvenient). Pearson and point-biserial correlations of the scales and demographic and psychological variables were conducted. Significant relationships emerged between age, gender, income, education, insurance status, and ethnic affirmation/belonging among several of the Mokken scales. A one-way ANOVA demonstrated that concerns about cost were significantly greater for those without insurance, versus those with public or private plans. Suggestions for overcoming barriers are presented, including community education, affordable treatment options, and increasing cultural competence among mental health providers.
African Americans; obsessive-compulsive disorder; barriers to treatment; health disparities; ethnic differences
This study examined the relation between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal ideation among U.S. military veterans deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom and/or Operation Iraqi Freedom. Specific aims included investigation of (1) whether PTSD was associated with suicidal ideation after controlling for combat exposure and history of suicide attempt(s), (2) whether PTSD was associated with suicidal ideation absent a co-occurring depressive disorder (MDD) or alcohol use disorder (AUD), (3) whether co-occurring MDD or AUD increased risk of suicidal ideation among those with PTSD, and (4) whether PTSD/MDD symptom clusters were differentially associated with suicidal ideation. Results pointed to unique effects associated with prior suicide attempt(s), PTSD, and MDD. PTSD-diagnosed participants with co-occurring MDD or AUD were not significantly more likely to endorse suicidal ideation than PTSD-diagnosed participants without such comorbidity. The ‘emotional numbing’ cluster of PTSD symptoms and the ‘cognitive-affective’ cluster of MDD symptoms were uniquely associated with suicidal ideation.
posttraumatic stress disorder; trauma; suicide; OEF-OIF; military
There is limited information about the nature of anxiety among youth with symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The present study examined (a) differences in the clinical characteristics of anxious youth with and without symptoms of ASD and (b) the symptoms of anxiety that best distinguish between these groups. Results indicated that anxious youth with elevated ASD symptoms had significantly more diagnoses (e.g., specific phobias), and were more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for social phobia (and list social concerns among their top fears) than youth without elevated ASD symptoms. At the symptom level, severity of interpersonal worry based on parent report and severity of fear of medical (doctor/dentist) visits based on youth report best differentiated ASD status. The findings inform diagnostic evaluations, case conceptualization, and treatment planning for youth with anxiety disorders and ASD symptoms.
child anxiety disorders; autism spectrum disorders; comorbidity; anxiety symptoms; distinguishing characteristics