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J Anxiety Disord. 2014 Jan;28(1):8-15. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.11.003. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Examining the latent structure of worry and generalized anxiety in a clinical sample.

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McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, United States; Southern Illinois University, United States. Electronic address:
McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, United States.


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by "pathological" worry, suggesting that GAD worriers differ qualitatively from non-GAD worriers. However, results from taxometric studies of worry in undergraduate and community samples have been mixed and to date, no studies have utilized clinical samples. The current study examined the latent structure of worry and GAD symptoms in a diagnostically heterogeneous clinical sample. Indicators were selected from the Penn State Worry Questionnaire-Abbreviated (n=1175) and the GAD-7 (n=638) and submitted to three taxometric procedures: MAXCOV, MAMBAC, and L-Mode. Results from all three procedures suggested that both worry and generalized anxiety are best conceptualized as dimensional constructs. Findings also indicated that ongoing conceptualization, assessment, and treatment of worry and GAD may be hampered by the application of a categorical framework.


Generalized anxiety; Latent structure; Taxometric; Worry

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