, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 71-88

Fear and Avoidance of Internal Experiences in GAD: Preliminary Tests of a Conceptual Model

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The tendency to fear and avoid internal experiences may be an important characteristic of individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). We review here theory and research suggesting that individuals with GAD may be experientially avoidant, and present preliminary evidence to support this model. Findings from both a non-clinical and clinical sample suggest that worry and generalized anxiety disorder may be associated with a tendency to try to avoid or control (versus accept) internal experiences, as well as a tendency to fear losing control over one’s own emotional responses (particularly anxiety). The clinical implications of these findings, along with directions for future research, are discussed.