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Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2019 Aug 10. doi: 10.1007/s10578-019-00919-z. [Epub ahead of print]

Anxiety Sensitivity and Children's Risk for Both Internalizing Problems and Peer Victimization Experiences.

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Department of Psychologial Science, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX, USA.
Department of Psychology, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Geisel School of Medicine, Lebanon, NH, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.
Department of Psychological Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA.


In this study, we examined the degree to which children's level of anxiety sensitivity (AS) was a precursor to both internalizing problems and peer victimization experiences. Participants were 581 fourth-grade children (M age = 9.31; 51.8% girls; 42.3% Hispanic/Latinx) and their teachers. Measures of AS, internalizing problems, and peer victimization were collected across a single academic year (Fall, Spring). Structural equation modeling and logistic regression analyses indicated AS predicted future internalizing symptoms as well as self- and teacher-reports of peer victimization. Also, children with heightened AS were 2.70 times more likely to reach elevated levels of self-rated peer victimization and 11.53 times more likely to have clinically elevated internalizing problems. This is the first study to examine prospectively the link between AS and children's peer victimization experiences. We discuss implications of the findings for developing preventative interventions for children at risk for peer victimization and internalizing difficulties.


Anxiety sensitivity; Children; Internalizing problems; Peer victimization


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