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Irrational beliefs and anxiety

Abstract

Samples of 451 (205 male and 246 female) and 189 (78 male and 111 female) introductory psychology students completed measures of irrational beliefs, trait anxiety, test anxiety, speech anxiety, fear of negative social evaluation, and social avoidance and distress. Simultaneous regressions on full and extreme group distributions showed no sex and sex ×belief interaction effects in the prediction of anxieties, suggesting that results were applicable to both sexes. Stepwise regressions of irrational beliefs on both full and extreme group distributions showed that (a) regression equations in the two samples were substantially replicated, (b) beliefs predictive of the full distribution were generally the same as those for the extreme groups, (c) the amount of variance accounted for in the extreme groups was greater than in the full distributions, (d) the amount of variance accounted for by irrational beliefs varied from one type of anxiety to another type of anxiety, and (e) different beliefs tended to be predictive of the different anxieties. Implications for the understanding and treatment of anxities were discussed.

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Correspondence to Jerry L. Deffenbacher.

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Deffenbacher, J.L., Zwemer, W.A., Whisman, M.A. et al. Irrational beliefs and anxiety. Cogn Ther Res 10, 281–291 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01173466

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Key words

  • irrational beliefs
  • trait anxiety
  • test anxiety
  • speech anxiety
  • fear of negative evaluation
  • social avoidance and distress