Gray's theory proposes that chronic over-sensitivity of the behavioral inhibition system (BIS) is associated with anxiety proneness characterized by increased state anxiety and a tendency toward behavioral inhibition. The construct of anxiety sensitivity has been conceptualized as an individual difference in the degree to which an individual believes the symptoms of anxiety will be harmful. Both constructs suggest an increased anxiety proneness, and both suggest similar sequelae - increased state anxiety and behavioral inhibition. Despite the similarity between these constructs, research to date has not examined the relationship between the BIS and anxiety sensitivity. In the current study, we reanalyzed data presented in an earlier study in which behavioral inhibition on a discrimination task was examined among high and low test-anxious subjects (Hagopian & Ollendick, 1994). Regression analyses indicated that, relative to other measures of anxiety, anxiety sensitivity was the best predictor of behavioral inhibition and state anxiety during the discrimination task. Subsequent analyses provided additional support for a relationship between anxiety sensitivity and behavioral inhibition, suggesting the need for further investigations using clinical populations.
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