ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 5, Issue 4, 457-476, 2014
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An Adapted Word-Sentence Association Paradigm for Generalized Anxiety and Worry: Assessing Interpretation Bias

  Avital Ogniewicz - Concordia University, Quebec, Canada
  Michel Dugas - Concordia University, Quebec, Canada and Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  Frédéric Langlois - Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada
  Patrick Gosselin - Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
  Naomi Koerner - Ryerson University, Ontario, Canada

Volume 5, Issue 4, 2014, Pages 457-476

Individuals with pathological worry, a common symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), make threatening interpretations of ambiguous information related to various life domains (e.g., finances, relationships). A wordsentence association paradigm (WSAP) computer task, originally designed for social anxiety, was adapted to assess two threat-related interpretation biases common among individuals with generalized anxiety and pathological worry. The two biases, which have yet to be investigated simultaneously, include: accepting threatening interpretations and rejecting benign interpretations of ambiguous information (for the original WSAP, see Beard & Amir, 2009). It was hypothesized that endorsing threat interpretations on the WSAP would be associated with greater bias for threat on a validated self-report measure of bias, and would predict GAD symptoms and worry after trait anxiety and depression were statistically controlled. Results from a non-clinical sample (N = 148) provided support for the convergent validity of the WSAP. After controlling for trait anxiety and depression, a bias to accept threat interpretations predicted a unique and significant proportion of variance in measures of GAD symptoms and worry. A bias away from non-threat (i.e., rejecting benign interpretations) was unrelated. The WSAP shows evidence of sensitivity and specificity to GAD symptoms and worry, and appears to be a unique and specific measure of two types of threat bias making it theoretically informative and clinically useful.

Table of Contents
The Word-Sentence Association Paradigm
  Word-Sentence Association Paradigm (WSAP)
  Ambiguous/Unambiguous Situations Diary - Extended Version (AUSD-EX; Koerner & Dugas, 2008)
  Worry and Anxiety Questionnaire (WAQ; Dugas et al., 2001)
  Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ; Meyer, Miller, Metzger, & Borkovec, 1990)
  State-Trait Inventory for Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety, Trait Scale (STICSA-T; Ree, MacLeod, French, & Locke, 2000)
  Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D; Radloff, 1977)
 Data Screening
 Collapsing Across Sites and WSAP Sets
 Hypothesis 1
 Hypothesis 2
 Hypothesis 3
 Limitations and Future Directions

Correspondence to
Michel J. Dugas, Département de psychoéducation et de psychologie, Université du Québec en Outaouais, P. O. Box 1250, Station Hull; Gatineau, Québec, Canada, J8X 3X7.

Generalized anxiety; Interpretation bias; Threat interpretation; Worry

Received 13 Sep 2013; Revised 27 Mar 2014; Accepted 27 Mar 2014; In Press 14 Dec 2014

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