Negative beliefs about worry outperform other beliefs associated with generalized anxiety disorder
generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), dysfunctional beliefs
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive and chronic worry. Negative beliefs about worry (NBW), intolerance of uncertainty (IU), and additional dysfunctional beliefs have been associated with GAD symptoms and worry severity. This study examined which dysfunctional beliefs are uniquely associated with GAD and worry severity, above and beyond negative affect (NA). A sample of pre-screened high worry undergraduates (N = 348) participated. They completed online self-report measures of worry, GAD symptoms, positive affect (PA), NA, NBW, IU, negative problem orientation, cognitive avoidance, and fear of emotions. All dysfunctional beliefs, and PA and NA, correlated with worry severity and GAD symptoms in the expected directions. Regression analyses found that, after controlling for PA and NA, NBW, IU, negative problem orientation, and fear of anxiety were unique predictors of worry severity. Unique predictors of GAD symptoms included PA, NA, NBW, and cognitive avoidance. These results were found in high worriers, which supports results from prior clinical and unselected non-clinical studies. Among dysfunctional beliefs that contribute to GAD, NBW has the strongest association with GAD and worry severity. Thus, NBW should be a primary focus of GAD research and therapy.
Presented on June 21, 2021 at the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) 2021 Virtual Conference.
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