ATAQUE DE NERVIOS: RELATIONSHIP TO ANXIETY SENSITIVITY AND DISSOCIATION PREDISPOSITION


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Abstract

We investigated the relative importance of “fear of arousal symptoms” (i.e., anxiety sensitivity) and “dissociation tendency” in generating ataque de nervios. Puerto Rican patients attending an outpatient psychiatric clinic were assessed for ataque de nervios frequency in the previous month, and they completed the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI) and the Dissociation Experiences Scale (DES). ASI scores were especially high in the ataque-positive group (M = 41.6, SD = 12.8) as compared with the ataque-negative group (M = 27.2, SD = 11.7), t(2, 68) = 4.6, P <.001. Among the whole sample (N = 70), in a logistic regression analysis, the ASI significantly predicted (odds ratio = 2.6) the presence of ataque de nervios, but the DES did not. In a linear regression analysis, ataque severity was significantly predicted by both the ASI (β=.46) and the DES (β=.29). The theoretical and clinical implications of the strong relationship of the ASI to ataque severity are discussed.

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