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J Anxiety Disord. 2004;18(5):587-607.

The relationship between trait vulnerability and anxiety and depressive diagnoses at long-term follow-up of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK.


The current study examined the relationship between measures of trait vulnerability and long-term outcome in 83 patients diagnosed and treated for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) 8-14 years previously. Diagnostic status was assessed by structured interview, and trait affect, trait anxiety and trait depression were measured by the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-T) and the Personal Style Inventory (PSI), respectively. Trait measures were all highly inter-correlated, and patients with diagnoses of GAD, social phobia and depressive disorders at long-term follow-up recorded very poor scores on all three scales. Trait anxiety recorded pre-treatment was also related to both anxiety and depression at long-term follow-up. However, trait depression showed no significant association with panic disorder. Increased numbers of comorbid diagnoses were strongly related to high levels of both trait anxiety and negative affect (NA). The findings suggest that patients reporting high trait anxiety or NA may suffer from a chronic course of disorder and higher levels of comorbidity over the longer term.

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