The relationship between sensory processing difficulties and anxiety level of healthy adults

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Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between extreme sensory reactivity as expressed in daily living situations, and trait and state anxiety, among healthy individuals.

Procedures: One hundred and thirty-five healthy individuals filled in the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile regarding their responses to daily sensory experiences. Anxiety was assessed by Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.

Findings: Participants with sensory hypersensitivity, as well as those with Low Registration of sensory input, showed elevated trait anxiety and state anxiety. Men with lower registration had more elevated trait anxiety than women. Sensation Avoiding was found to be the significant predictor for state anxiety.

Conclusion: Trait anxiety and state anxiety might be related to extreme sensory processing patterns. Occupational therapy intervention with people who express enhanced anxiety level should refer to their sensory reactivity as a means to optimise intervention outcomes, increase their self-confidence, improve their functioning and participation in daily living, and enhance their wellbeing.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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