Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Leen-Feldner, Ellen

Committee Member/Reader

Schroeder, David

Committee Member/Second Reader

Moxley, Shari

Committee Member/Third Reader

Brogi, Alessandro


Over 60% of adolescents are exposed to a traumatic event, and a significant minority goes on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is important to understand factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of this debilitating condition. Anxiety sensitivity (AS), defined as the fear of the consequences of anxiety, correlates positively with increased posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). Research also suggests that females are more likely to develop PTSS. There are a number of limitations of this literature, however, including a lack of laboratory-based assessment of the relation between AS and biological sex on PTSS among adolescents. The current study seeks to address this gap in the literature by evaluating the relation between AS and adolescent response to a script-driven imagery task (i.e., presentation of ideographic trauma cues) as a function of biological sex. A total of 35 trauma-exposed adolescents (10-17 years; Mage = 14.03, SD = 2.48) were recruited for the study. Contrary to expectations, there were no significant differences between males and females in terms of reactivity to trauma cue presentation, nor was there an interaction between AS and biological sex. Findings are discussed in terms of the limitations of the current study, as well as potential implications for etiological and maintenance models for PTSS among youth.


postramuatic stress disorder, Anxiety sensitivity, posttraumatic stress symptoms

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