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      Worry and Metacognitions as Predictors of Anxiety Symptoms: A Prospective Study

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          Both worry and metacognitive beliefs have been found to be related to the development of anxiety, but metacognitive theory (Wells and Matthews, 1994; Wells, 2009) suggest that metacognitive beliefs may play a more prominent role. The aim of the present prospective study was to examine whether worry, metacognitive beliefs or the interaction between worry and metacognitive beliefs, were the best predictor of anxiety over time, utilizing a longitudinal, prospective study design. An undergraduate student sample ( N = 190) was assessed on measures of worry (PSWQ), metacognitive beliefs (MCQ-30) and anxiety (BAI) at three points in time over a 7-month period. A mixed-model analysis revealed that both worry and metacognitive beliefs predicted development of anxiety, independently of each other, with no indication of an interaction-effect (PSWQ * MCQ-30). Further, analyses of the MCQ-30 subscales indicated that negative metacognitive beliefs may be particularly important in the development of anxiety. While gender was correlated with worry, gender predicted anxiety beyond the effect of worry. Taken together, the results imply that both worry and metacognitive beliefs play a prominent role for the development of anxiety.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Development and validation of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire.

          The present report describes the development of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire to measure the trait of worry. The 16-item instrument emerged from factor analysis of a large number of items and was found to possess high internal consistency and good test-retest reliability. The questionnaire correlates predictably with several psychological measures reasonably related to worry, and does not correlate with other measures more remote to the construct. Responses to the questionnaire are not influenced by social desirability. The measure was found to significantly discriminate college samples (a) who met all, some, or none of the DSM-III-R diagnostic criteria for generalized anxiety disorder and (b) who met criteria for GAD vs posttraumatic stress disorder. Among 34 GAD-diagnosed clinical subjects, the worry questionnaire was found not to correlate with other measures of anxiety or depression, indicating that it is tapping an independent construct with severely anxious individuals, and coping desensitization plus cognitive therapy was found to produce significantly greater reductions in the measure than did a nondirective therapy condition.
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            Meta-Cognition and Worry: A Cognitive Model of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

             Adrian Wells (1995)
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              Differentiating anxiety and depression: a test of the cognitive content-specificity hypothesis.


                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                31 May 2017
                : 8
                1Department of Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway
                2St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital Trondheim, Norway
                Author notes

                Edited by: Roumen Kirov, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria

                Reviewed by: Vassilis Barkoukis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece; Ulrich Schweiger, Lübeck University Medical School, Germany; Juan Ramos Cejudo, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

                *Correspondence: Truls Ryum truls.ryum@

                This article was submitted to Psychopathology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2017 Ryum, Kennair, Hjemdal, Hagen, Halvorsen and Solem.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 35, Pages: 6, Words: 4707

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry

                riskfactor, metacognition, prospective, anxiety, worry


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