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Worry and Irrational Beliefs in Anxiety

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Alban Neziri

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Anxiety is a debilitating disorder with a high rate of comorbidity and prevalence within the general population. Traditionally, classical models of anxiety conceptualize worry, threat avoidance and attentional biases, as cognitive mechanisms leading to anxiety. In recent years, pathological worry has dominated the current anxiety literature. However, pathological worry yields inconsistent results and fails to explain a significant and unique variance across all studies. Recent research suggests that this significant and unique variance may be mediated by irrational beliefs. Thus, the aim of the current study was to conduct a literature review on worry, irrational beliefs and anxiety. Specifically, researchers were interested in (1) the relationship between worry, irrational beliefs and anxiety, and (2) the mediational role of irrational beliefs in the relationship between worry and anxiety. Researchers hypothesized that high worriers and irrational-belief systems would predict anxiety more so than pathological worry. The results of this study provide evidence of a relationship between worry, irrational beliefs and anxiety, and irrational beliefs’ mediational role in this relationship. These findings have vast implications on the conceptualization of anxiety and cognitive-based interventions. Thus, future directions should focus on better understanding the mediational role of irrational beliefs in worry and anxiety, as well as the role of pathological worry in anxiety.

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Worry and Irrational Beliefs in Anxiety

Anxiety is a debilitating disorder with a high rate of comorbidity and prevalence within the general population. Traditionally, classical models of anxiety conceptualize worry, threat avoidance and attentional biases, as cognitive mechanisms leading to anxiety. In recent years, pathological worry has dominated the current anxiety literature. However, pathological worry yields inconsistent results and fails to explain a significant and unique variance across all studies. Recent research suggests that this significant and unique variance may be mediated by irrational beliefs. Thus, the aim of the current study was to conduct a literature review on worry, irrational beliefs and anxiety. Specifically, researchers were interested in (1) the relationship between worry, irrational beliefs and anxiety, and (2) the mediational role of irrational beliefs in the relationship between worry and anxiety. Researchers hypothesized that high worriers and irrational-belief systems would predict anxiety more so than pathological worry. The results of this study provide evidence of a relationship between worry, irrational beliefs and anxiety, and irrational beliefs’ mediational role in this relationship. These findings have vast implications on the conceptualization of anxiety and cognitive-based interventions. Thus, future directions should focus on better understanding the mediational role of irrational beliefs in worry and anxiety, as well as the role of pathological worry in anxiety.

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