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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2010 Nov;198(11):846-51. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181f98063.

Specificity of interpersonal problems in generalized anxiety disorder versus other anxiety disorders and depression.

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  • 1Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Technische Universit├Ąt Dresden, Germany.


We examined the diagnostic specificity of interpersonal problems (IP) in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). We expected generally higher interpersonal distress, and specifically higher levels of nonassertive, exploitable, overly nurturant, and intrusive behavior in n = 58 patients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition GAD compared with patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (n = 46), other anxiety disorders (n = 47), and unipolar depressive disorders (n = 47). IP were assessed with the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems. Specificity in the sense of heightened interpersonal distress for GAD was not supported in any of the aforementioned scales, neither for pure nor for comorbid GAD. This finding persisted after accounting for the degree of depressiveness (Beck Depression Inventory). GAD patients are rather not characterized by more self-ascribed IPs although they may worry more about interpersonal issues in general.

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