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

Authors
  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
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.039013

Abstract
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
Introduction
The Word-Sentence Association Paradigm
Method
 Participants
 Procedure
 Measures
  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)
Results
 Data Screening
 Collapsing Across Sites and WSAP Sets
 Hypothesis 1
 Hypothesis 2
 Hypothesis 3
Discussion
 Limitations and Future Directions
 Conclusions
Acknowledgements
References
Appendix

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.

Keywords
Generalized anxiety; Interpretation bias; Threat interpretation; Worry

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









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