Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Adams-Price, Carolyn E.

Committee Member

Nadorff, Danielle K.

Committee Member

Berman, Mitchell E.

Committee Member

Dozier, Mary E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Applied Psychology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


Anxiety is a mental illness that can have significant deleterious impacts on an individual’s functioning. Although anxiety has been studied in older adults, there is conflicting evidence on differences in anxiety as a function of age. Anxiety sensitivity is a construct that is positively related to anxiety but has limited research in older adults. Extant literature suggests that older adults experience less anxiety sensitivity than do younger adults. According to Socioemotional Selectivity Theory, this may be due to older adults letting go of the things that make them anxious. The current study proposed that age impacts self-rated anxiety such that it is lower in older adults than it is in middle-aged adults and posits that anxiety sensitivity may mediate the relationship between anxiety and age. The results suggested a significant indirect effect but no direct effect, precluding the presence of mediation. There was a significant relationship between age and anxiety sensitivity. Further examination revealed that the relationship between age and anxiety sensitivity was not significant for people under 60 years old, but it remained significant for participants 60 years and older.