Studies using fear-conditioning paradigms have found that anxiety patients are more conditionable than individuals without these disorders, but these effects have been demonstrated inconsistently. It is unclear whether these findings have etiological significance or whether enhanced conditionability is linked only to certain anxiety characteristics. To further examine these issues, the authors assessed the predictive significance of relevant subsyndromal characteristics in 72 healthy adults, including measures of worry, avoidance, anxious mood, depressed mood, and fears of anxiety symptoms (anxiety sensitivity), as well as the dimensions of Neuroticism and Extraversion. Of these variables, the authors found that the combination of higher levels of subsyndromal worry and lower levels of behavioral avoidance predicted heightened conditionability, raising questions about the etiological significance of these variables in the acquisition or maintenance of anxiety disorders. In contrast, the authors found that anxiety sensitivity was more linked to individual differences in orienting response than differences in conditioning per se. © 2007 Sage Publications.
Otto, Michael W.; Leyro, Teresa M.; Christian, Kelly; Deveney, Christen M.; Reese, Hannah; Pollack, Mark H.; and Orr, Scott P., "Prediction of "fear" acquisition in healthy control participants in a de novo fear-conditioning paradigm" (2007). Psychology Faculty Publications. 29.