Research Reports - Anxiety sensitivity mediates gender differences in post-concussive symptoms

Psychiatry Res. 2017 Mar 7;252:242-246. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.099.
[Epub ahead of print]

Albanese BJ(1), Boffa JW(1), Macatee RJ(1), Schmidt NB(2).

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is both prevalent and potentially disabling. Extant
literature has demonstrated women to report greater post-concussive symptoms
(PCS) compared to men, highlighting the necessity of investigations into
malleable, gender-linked risk factors for PCS that hold promise for reducing this
gender disparity. Anxiety Sensitivity (AS) and Distress Tolerance (DT) are
gender-linked risk factors that may be related to PCS. Despite a breadth of
research supporting elevated AS and reduced DT in women, no study to date has
investigated whether AS and DT mediate gender differences in PCS. The current
sample was composed of 59 participants selected from a larger study based on
their report of a past TBI. Findings indicated that AS, but not DT, significantly
mediated gender differences in PCS. The present results suggest that AS is a
cognitive risk factor that can partially account for the gender disparity in the
expression of PCS. AS may influence an individual's interpretation of PCS as
dangerous, thereby amplifying the perception of PCS severity. This suggests that
efforts to reduce the burden of TBI may benefit from targeting AS in prevention
and treatment paradigms, especially among women. 

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