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Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 109–120 | Cite as

Worry and problem solving: Evidence of a specific relationship

  • Michel J. Dugas
  • Hélène Letarte
  • Josée Rhéaume
  • Mark H. Freeston
  • Robert Ladouceur
Article

Abstract

Recent studies suggest that worry is related to deficient problem-solving ability. This paper presents the relationship between worry and problem solving. Worry was measured with the Worry Domains Questionnaire (Tallis, Eysenck, & Mathews, 1992) and the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (Meyer, Miller, Metzger, & Borkovec, 1990); problem solving was assessed with the Social Problem-Solving Inventory (D'Zurilla & Nezu, 1990) and the Problem-Solving Inventory (Heppner & Petersen, 1982); and mood state was evaluated with the Beck Anxiety Inventory (Beck, Epstein, Brown, & Steer, 1988) and the Beck Depression Inventory (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979). Subjects were 122 university students. The hypotheses were the following: (1) Worry would be negatively related to problem solving; and (2) cognitive and affective factors would play a more important role than behavioral deficits in limiting problem-solving ability. As both problem-solving scales are multidimensional, regression analyses predicted worry scores from the problem-solving scales. Results show that subscales describing theoretically sound problem-solving behaviors accounted for trivial or no variance in worry scores. On the other hand, even when mood state had been partialed out by hierarchical regression, subscales describing reactions to problematic situations predicted worry scores. Therefore, both hypotheses were confirmed. These results suggest that worry is related to problem orientation (i.e., immediate cognitive-behavioral-affective reactions to problematic situations) but not to problem-solving skills (i.e., articulating goals, generating solutions, making decisions, and implementing and verifying solutions). Clinical implications are discussed.

Key words

worry problem solving problem orientation generalized anxiety disorder 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michel J. Dugas
    • 1
  • Hélène Letarte
    • 1
  • Josée Rhéaume
    • 1
  • Mark H. Freeston
    • 1
  • Robert Ladouceur
    • 1
  1. 1.École de psychologieUniversité LavalCanada

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