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Intelligence and emotional disorders: is the worrying and ruminating mind a more intelligent mind?

Faculty Advisor




intelligence, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, social anxiety disorder, worry, rumination, post-event processing

Abstract (summary)

Previous research has shown that anxiety and depression symptoms are negatively associated with measures of intelligence. However, this research has often not taken state distress and test anxiety into account, and recent findings indicate possible positive relationships between generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), worry, and intelligence. The present study examined the relationships between GAD, depression, and social anxiety symptoms, as well as their underlying cognitive processes of worry, rumination, and post-event processing, with verbal and non-verbal intelligence in an undergraduate sample (N = 126). While the results indicate that verbal intelligence has positive relationships with GAD and depression symptoms when test anxiety and state negative affect were taken into account, these relationships became non-significant when overlapping variance was controlled for. However, verbal intelligence was a unique positive predictor of worry and rumination severity. Non-verbal intelligence was a unique negative predictor of post-event processing. The possible connections between intelligence and the cognitive processes that underlie emotional disorders are discussed.

Publication Information

Penney, A. M., Miedema, V. C., & Mazmanian, D. (2015). Intelligence and emotional disorders: Is the worrying and ruminating mind a more intelligent mind? Personality and Individual Differences, 74, 90-93. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.10.005


Item Type

Article Post-Print




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