ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 7, Issue 1, 72-94, 2016
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Working Memory in Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Effects of Verbal and Image-Based Worry and Relation to Cognitive and Emotional Processes

  Kathleen Tallon - Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
  Naomi Koerner - Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
  Lixia Yang - Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

Volume 7, Issue 1, 2016, Pages 72-94

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry and is associated with cognitive and emotional difficulties including threat interpretation bias (IB). Worry, especially in a verbal mode, has been shown to cause a temporary restriction in working memory (WM). This study examined the effects of verbal and image-based worry on WM, whether the effect of worry on WM accounts for IB in persons with GAD, and the degree to which WM correlates with cognitive and emotional processes associated with GAD. At baseline, participants (N = 32) with GAD completed questionnaires assessing worry, and related processes, and WM and IB tasks. Participants were then trained to worry in verbal or imagery form, per Leigh and Hirsch (2011), and completed WM and IB tasks a second time. At baseline, in the absence of induced worry, lower WM was related to greater emotion dysregulation, intolerance of uncertainty, negative problem orientation, and lower attentional control. Induced worry, regardless of the form, did not significantly affect WM or IB.

Table of Contents
Research Questions and Hypotheses
  Demographic characteristics.
  Experimental Tasks and Procedures.
  Mentation style training.
  Worry induction and worry test phase.
 Impact of Induced Worry on Working Memory Capacity and Interpretation Bias
  Analysis of pre-training data.
  Mentation training check.
  Mood comparison.
  Effects of verbal and image-based worry on working memory and interpretation bias.
  Working memory as a mediator of the effect of induced worry on interpretations of ambiguous situations.
  Baseline Associations of Self-Reported GAD and Related Symptoms and Processes to Working Memory
Strengths, Limitations, and Future Directions

Correspondence to
Naomi Koerner, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology (JOR 9th floor), Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON, M5B 2K3.

generalized anxiety disorder, worry, working memory, cognitive processes, emotional processes, interpretation bias

Received 1 Oct 2014; Revised 7 Jul 2015; Accepted 10 Jul 2015; In Press 5 Feb 2016

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