Anxiety Sensitivity Index®

  • Assesses Panic Disorder and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Prospectively predicts panic attacks

  • Predicts relapse versus durability of improvement after therapy

In 1985 Professor Steven Reiss, together with graduate student Richard McNally, put forth the concept of anxiety sensitivity, or the idea that anxiety is not equally motivating to all people. People show important individual differences in how they react to anxious arousal. Most people who notice they are anxious (e.g., a pounding heart, sweaty palms, or the "shakes") expect the anxiety to dissipate when the situation that is worrying them is resolved. A small percentage of people, however, misinterpret the signs of anxious arousal as threatening. These people believe that a pounding heart can lead to a heart attack, or that shaking is a sign of mental illness. This group is said to have "high anxiety sensitivity." More than 1,400 peer-reviewed validity studies have shown that high anxiety sensitivity is linked to panic attacks, Panic Disorder, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. These studies have played a major role in our scientific understanding of the cognitive aspects of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety sensitivity is an established concept. When evaluating anxiety conditions, an examiner needs to consider not just the amount of anxiety shown by the client but also the client's sensitivity to anxiety. People who have significantly less tolerance for anxious situations have a propensity to panic when aroused. For example, the ASI has been shown to predict the military recruits who are likely to panic under the stress of basic training.



Ages: The ASI is normed for adolescents and adults ages 12 and older.

Length: This self-report questionnaire takes about three minutes to complete.

Qualified Users: Licensed clinical psychologists, social workers, and counselors.

Pricing: PDF file, Word file.