Does a restriction in working memory capacity mediate the relationship between worry and interpretive biases in generalized anxiety disorder?
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 07:49 by Kathleen Tallon
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry and is associated with specific cognitive and emotional difficulties including a threat interpretation bias (IB). Worry, especially in a verbal mode, has been shown to cause a temporary restriction in working memory (WM) capacity. This study examined whether the effects of worry on WM account for threat interpretation biases in GAD. Participants (N = 36) with GAD completed questionnaires assessing worry and related processes. Lower baseline WM was related to higher state anxiety, emotion dysregulation, intolerance of uncertainty, thought suppression, negative problem orientation, and lower attentional control, and was not associated with trait worry. Participants were trained to worry in verbal or imagery form, per Leigh and Hirsch (2011), and then completed a WM task and an IB task a second time. Induced worry, regardless of its form, did not significantly affect WM or IB. Theoretical implications and methodological considerations are discussed.