The psychological models of panic disorder predict that people with this anxiety disorder are able to accurately estimate changes in somatic sensations. This study investigated whether nonclinical panickers, at risk for developing panic disorder, demonstrate enhanced interoceptive ability for changes in sympathetic arousal. Twenty people with nonclinical panic and 36 nonpanic controls estimated changes in overall sympathetic arousal, as measured by pulse transit time. A greater proportion of the nonclinical panickers than nonpanic controls met criterion for accurate interoceptive ability. As a group, nonclinical panickers also demonstrated more accurate perception of sympathetic arousal but only when it changed in predictable ways. Anxiety sensitivity and trait anxiety also appeared related to enhanced interoception, particularly in people who had experienced nonclinical panic. People who are at risk for the development of panic disorder may therefore demonstrate enhanced interoceptive ability for sympathetic arousal.
The Sensitivity to Punishment and Sensitivity to Reward Questionnaire (SPSRQ) has been proposed as a measure of the behavioral approach system (BAS) and behavioral inhibition system (BIS). Previous research with the SPSRQ has highlighted potential problems with the factor structure of the measure and individual item properties. The aim of the current studies was to use factor analytic and item response theory (IRT) methods to examine the psychometric properties of the SPSRQ. A further aim was to develop a short version of the SPSRQ. In Study 1, 393 adult participants completed the SPSRQ. The results from this study highlighted problems with the factor structure and item properties that had been noted in previous research. On this basis, a short form of the measure was proposed. In Study 2, the short form of the SPSRQ was tested with an independent sample (N = 327). These analyses suggested the short form of the SPSRQ had an improved factor structure, good item properties, and acceptable reliability.