Anxiety sensitivity and posttrauma stress symptoms in female undergraduates following a campus shooting


  • We express our gratitude to Ruthie Varkovitzky, Deborah Lilly, and the research participants for their contributions to this work. This research was funded by grants to the fourth author from the Joyce Foundation, the National Institute for Child and Human Development, and the National Institute of Mental Health.


Participants were recruited from female undergraduate students participating in an ongoing longitudinal study at the time of a campus shooting. Eighty-five percent (N = 691) of the 812 students who were invited to participate in the current study completed questionnaires an average of 27 days following a campus shooting. In a mixed cross-sectional and longitudinal design, the cognitive and the physical concerns dimensions of postshooting anxiety sensitivity accounted for unique variance in posttrauma stress symptom severity (cross-sectional), after controlling for preshooting psychological symptoms (longitudinal). The cognitive concerns dimension showed the strongest relationship. Anxiety sensitivity also appeared to moderate the relationships of hyperarousal symptoms with reexperiencing and numbing symptoms.