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The effect of worrying on intolerance of uncertainty and positive and negative beliefs about worry

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posted on 2023-06-09, 16:34 authored by Gary I Britton, Sarah E Neale, Graham C L Davey
Background and Objectives: The effect of a worry manipulation on the clinical constructs intolerance of uncertainty (IU), negative beliefs about the consequences of worry (NCOW), positive beliefs about the consequences of worry (PCOW), in addition to the emotions anxiety and sadness, was examined. Methods: A non-clinical sample was split into two groups, a worry group (n = 29), who were asked to generate 20 potential worries about a hypothetical scenario, and a control group (n = 28), who were asked to generate 2 potential worries about the same scenario. Subsequently, participants were asked to complete measures of IU, NCOW, PCOW, sadness and anxiety. Results: The worry group scored significantly higher than the control group on measures of IU, NCOW and PCOW but not on measures of sadness and anxiety. Limitations: Possible limitations of the current study include the use of a student sample and the use of a hypothetical worry scenario. Conclusions: The results suggest that engaging in worry can increase scores on measures of the beliefs and thought patterns often used to causally explain worry. The results are in line with recent research showing bidirectionality between anxiety related symptoms and their associated clinical constructs, and are consistent with an approach which sees anxiety symptoms as part of an evolved integrated threat management system that alerts the individual to threats to goals or challenges, and coordinates cognitive, behavioral, and affective reactions to enable effective responding to these threats and challenges.


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Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry







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