Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 469–481 | Cite as

Cognitive Risk Factors to the Development of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders in Adolescents

  • David A. Dia
  • William Bradshaw


This exploratory study examines cognitive risk factors, anxiety sensitivity, and positive and negative affect, as related to the development of anxiety and depression. In a mailed survey, adolescents completed the Child Anxiety Sensitivity Index and the Positive and Negative Affectivity Scale. Previous research utilized the broad and unified variable of anxiety sensitivity as a predictor of anxiety. In this study, we separate and examine the four specific factors of anxiety sensitivity: mental incapacitation concerns, social concerns, disease concerns, and unsteady concerns, and relate it to specific anxiety disorders and depression. Results indicate good convergent validity and improved divergent validity when utilizing the four factors of anxiety sensitivity as compared to using it as one construct. Results also suggest: (1) OCD and GAD share numerous similarities and (2) the importance of the role of negative affectivity in anxiety and depression. Being aware of the components of anxiety sensitivity and how they relate to specific anxiety disorders can help a social worker when rendering a diagnosis.


Risk factors Anxiety Depression Cognitive Adolescents Anxiety sensitivity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Social WorkThe University of TennesseeMemphisUSA

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