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Cognitive variables related to worry among adolescents: Avoidance strategies and faulty beliefs about worry

Patrick Gosselin, Frédéric Langlois, Mark H. Freeston, Robert Ladouceur, Myriam Laberge and Dominique Lemay

Revue : Behaviour Research and Therapy

Studies aiming to better understand worry have neglected children and adolescents. This constitutes an important limitation considering that excessive worry is frequent among adolescents and that patients suffering from excessive worries associate the beginning of their disorder with adolescence. This study evaluates the cognitive variables associated with worry in a sample of 777 adolescents. It attempts to determine whether cognitive avoidance and false beliefs about the usefulness of worries are present and associated with worries in adolescence. The results showed that participants with a high level of worry used more avoidance strategies and held more beliefs about worry. The results also revealed that avoidance of stimuli that trigger unpleasant thoughts and thought substitution were the major avoidance strategies related to worry among adolescents. The belief that worry helps to avoid future negative events was also related to worry. These findings may suggest that adolescents? worries are maintained by processes similar to those observed among adults.

Keywords: Worry; Adolescents; Avoidance; Beliefs



Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 819 821 8000, X3811; fax: +1 819 821 7925

Behaviour Research and Therapy, Volume 45, Issue 2 , February 2007, Pages 225-233

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