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Keywords:

  • sensory defensiveness;
  • anxiety;
  • Adult Sensory Interview

Abstract

This pilot study explored the relationship between sensory defensiveness and anxiety, as well as the impact of a sensory integration treatment protocol on normal adults. Fifteen adult subjects identified as having sensory defensiveness completed the Adult Sensory Questionnaire (ASQ), Adult Sensory Interview (ADULT-SI), and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) at pre-test and post-test intervals to measure sensory defensiveness and anxiety. A treatment protocol was implemented which included providing insight into sensory defensiveness, regular and daily sensory input, and engagement in activities of choice providing primarily proprioceptive, vestibular and tactile sensory input. Subjects engaged in an individualized self-treatment protocol for one month.

Results indicated a significant correlation between anxiety and sensory defensiveness (r = 0.62,p = 0.027). The differences in pre-test and post-test mean scores of the Adult Sensory Interview (p = 0.048) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (p = 0.0453) supported the use of a sensory treatment protocol to decrease sensory defensiveness and secondary anxiety. There is a need for further research using experimental methodology with a control group to explore the effectiveness of a sensory treatment protocol on sensory defensiveness and anxiety. Copyright © 2003 Whurr Publishers Ltd.