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Interpretation of Ambiguous Information: Can Generalized Anxiety Disorder Be Distinguished From Other Anxiety Disorders?

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Interpretation of Ambiguous Information: Can Generalized Anxiety Disorder Be Distinguished From Other Anxiety Disorders?

Anderson, Kristin (2010) Interpretation of Ambiguous Information: Can Generalized Anxiety Disorder Be Distinguished From Other Anxiety Disorders? Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Anxious individuals interpret ambiguity negatively. There is evidence that this interpretation bias is disorder specific. For example, those with panic disorder rate ambiguous physiological sensations more negatively than do individuals with social phobia. As generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by an intolerance of various uncertainty-inducing situations, negative interpretations of ambiguity might be pronounced in individuals with GAD. The goal of the current study was to compare the tendency to interpret ambiguous situations and pictures negatively in individuals with GAD, individuals with other anxiety disorders (ANX), and in non-anxious individuals. An additional goal was to explore the extent to which intolerance of uncertainty (IU), state anxiety, and their interaction contribute to this tendency. Results showed that compared to the non-anxious group, the clinical groups reported more concern for all situation types (e.g., positive, negative, and ambiguous), and rated ambiguous and neutral (but not positive or negative) pictures as less pleasant. The clinical groups reported similar levels of concern for ambiguous situations; however, the ANX group rated ambiguous pictures as less pleasant than did the GAD group. Finally, IU predicted more negative interpretations of ambiguous situations and pictures. The interaction between IU and state anxiety revealed that IU predicted ratings of ambiguous situations only at low levels of state anxiety. Results suggest that GAD may not be distinguishable from other anxiety disorders with regard to interpretations of ambiguous stimuli, and that IU may be a better predictor of appraisals of ambiguous situations at lower levels of state anxiety.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Anderson, Kristin
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Psychology
Date:November 2010
Thesis Supervisor(s):Dugas, Michel
ID Code:6970
Deposited By:KRISTIN ANDERSON
Deposited On:09 Jun 2011 11:39
Last Modified:09 Jun 2011 11:39
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