Anxiety sensitivity in school attending youth : exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of the 18-item CASI in a multicultural South African sample

Martin, Lindi ; Kidd, Martin ; Seedat, Soraya (2016-01-07)

CITATION: Martin, L., Kidd, M. & Seedat, S. 2016. Anxiety sensitivity in school attending youth: exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of the 18-item CASI in a multicultural South African sample. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:1996, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01996.

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ENGLISH SUMMARY : Anxiety sensitivity (AS) is a risk factor for the development of anxiety disorders in youth. To date, the applicability of the Childhood Anxiety Sensitivity Index (CASI) in youth from a low or middle income country (LMIC) setting on the African continent has not been assessed. A representative sample of 1149 secondary school learners from 29 schools in Cape Town, South Africa, participated in the study. Participants completed the CASI on a single occasion. One-, two-, and four-factor models of the CASI were assessed. A one-factor solution that comprised items predominantly represented by physical concerns appeared to provide the best fit to our data, however, relatively low variance (26%) was explained. Subsequent item deletion resulted in a 9-item ‘physical concerns’ factor that showed good construct reliability (0.83) but also explained a low amount of variance (35%). In terms of gender, a one-factor model provided the best fit, however, low variance was explained (i.e., 25%). Configural, metric and scalar invariance of the CASI by gender was determined. Our results suggest that the 18-item CASI is not applicable to our target population and may require adaptation in this population; however, replication of this study in other multicultural adolescent samples in South Africa is first needed to further assess the validity of the AS construct as measured by the CASI.

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