Examination of the streams-of-consciousness content of generalized anxiety disorder, dysphoric, and control participants during neutral and worry periods revealed that worrying in general was associated with (a) being less present focused; (b) experiencing elevated levels of negatively valenced, high arousal affect; (c) referencing the immediate environment to a lesser degree; (d) more frequent occurrence of words reflecting cognitive distortions; and (e) shifting from one topic to another topic to a lesser extent. Significant group differences in the use of specific theoretically relevant words and statements were found. Compared to dysphoric and control participants, anxious participants used a higher relative frequency of somatic anxiety words, statements implying catastrophic interpretations of events, and statements implying a rigid, rule-bound manner of interpreting events. Additionally, the results revealed that dysphoric participants made use of derivatives of the word worry at an exceptionally high frequency.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology