Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 559–575 | Cite as

Cognitive Errors in Youth with Anxiety Disorders: The Linkages Between Negative Cognitive Errors and Anxious Symptoms

  • Carl F. Weems
  • Steven L. Berman
  • Wendy K. Silverman
  • Lissette M. Saavedra
Article

Abstract

This study examined the linkages between negative cognitive errors and anxiety in a sample of children and adolescents referred for anxiety problems (N = 251). The Children's Negative Cognitive Error Questionnaire was used to assess cognitive errors and several self-report measures of anxiety were used to examine the specific linkages between cognitive errors and different aspects of children's anxiety phenomenology. Results indicated that each of the measures of anxiety (i.e., trait anxiety, manifest anxiety, and anxiety sensitivity) were significantly related to each of the cognitive errors examined (i.e., catastrophizing, overgeneralization, personalizing, and selective abstraction). The cognitive errors of catastrophizing, overgeneralization, and personalizing were still correlated with trait anxiety, anxiety sensitivity, and manifest anxiety while controlling for children's level of depression. In addition, the correlation between selective abstraction and anxiety sensitivity was still evident while controlling for children's level of depression. Stepwise regression analyses indicated that overgeneralization was the strongest predictor of trait anxiety, catastrophizing and personalizing were the strongest predictors of anxiety sensitivity and manifest anxiety, and overgeneralization and selective abstraction were the strongest predictors of depression. Results also indicated that age moderated the relation between some types of cognitive errors and anxiety. The results are discussed with respect to the development of cognitive models of anxiety in youth, future research directions, and potential treatment implications.

children cognition errors anxiety anxiety sensitivity 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl F. Weems
    • 1
  • Steven L. Berman
    • 1
  • Wendy K. Silverman
    • 2
  • Lissette M. Saavedra
    • 1
  1. 1.Child and Family Psychosocial Research Center, Department of PsychologyFlorida International UniversityMiami
  2. 2.Child and Family Psychosocial Research Center, Department of PsychologyFlorida International UniversityMiami

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