ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 4, Issue 5, 566-583, 2013
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Behavioral Indicators of Emotional Avoidance and Subsequent Worry in Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression

Authors
Samuel E. Cooper, Regina Miranda, and Douglas S. Mennin
Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York

Volume 4, Issue 5, 2013, Pages 566-583
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.033512

Abstract
Empirically-supported theories posit that individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) experience uncomfortable affective states and distress in response to perceived emotionally-laden contexts (e.g., interpersonal situations), and are motivated to avoid emotional content through worry. Although we have extensive self-report and physiological evidence for the role of emotional avoidance and subsequent worry in GAD, behavioral evidence is lacking. In the current study, we investigated behavioral avoidance of emotion and subsequent worry in GAD, as well as in depression. Participants viewed either an anxious or neutral video and then viewed slides consisting of mutilation images, followed by a worry assessment. We recorded facial expressivity during the slide-viewing task. We used diminished facial expressivity and disengagement from the slide-viewing task as indices of behavioral avoidance. Our findings provide preliminary support for the assertion that emotional avoidance demonstrates an exacerbating role in worry and that this relationship might be particularly pronounced in GAD.

Table of Contents
Introduction
Theories of GAD and the Role of Worry in Emotional Avoidance
Behavioral Indicators of Emotional Avoidance
The Present Study
Method
Participants
Materials
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire – IV (GAD-Q-IV; Newman et al., 2002).
Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II; Beck et al., 1996).
Multiple Affect Adjective Check List – Revised (MAACL-R; Zuckerman & Lubin, 1985).
Worry Catastrophizing Assessment (WCA; Vasey & Borkovec, 1992).
Video clip stimuli.
Slide viewing task.
Procedure
Facial Coding
Results
Preliminary Analyses
Mood Induction
Slide Viewing Time
Displayed Facial Expression
Fear expressions.
Disgust expressions.
Depth of Worry
Discussion
Summary
Interpretations and Implications
Limitations
Future Directions
References

Correspondence to
Douglas S. Mennin, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Hunter College, Room 742N, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065.

Keywords
generalized anxiety disorder, worry, emotion, emotional avoidance, emotion regulation, facial expression

Dates
Received 3 Jun 2012; Revised 3 Dec 2012; Accepted 6 Dec 2012; In Press 21 Jul 2013







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