Problem solving and problem orientation in generalized anxiety disorder

J Anxiety Disord. 1998 Mar-Apr;12(2):139-52. doi: 10.1016/s0887-6185(98)00002-4.


The present study's main objective is to examine whether problem orientation and problem-solving skills differ according to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) symptom level or clinical status (seeking help for GAD). Its secondary goal is to examine whether two cognitive variables (intolerance of uncertainty and beliefs about worry) vary according to GAD symptom level or clinical status. Three groups of subjects participated in the study: (a) nonclinical moderate worriers (N = 15), (b) nonclinical subjects meeting GAD criteria by questionnaire (N = 14), and (c) GAD patients (N = 14). Problem orientation and problem-solving skills were measured with the Social Problem-Solving Inventory (D'Zurilla & Nezu, 1990) and the Problem-Solving Inventory (Heppner & Petersen, 1982), whereas the cognitive variables were assessed with the Intolerance of Uncertainty questionnaire (Freeston, Rhéaume, Letarte, Dugas, & Ladouceur, 1994) and the Why Worry? questionnaire (Freeston, Rhéaume et al., 1994). The results show that problem orientation, intolerance of uncertainty, and beliefs about worry were similar in subjects meeting GAD criteria by questionnaire and GAD patients, whereas moderate worriers had different scores on these variables. Thus, these variables are more highly affected by GAD symptom level than by clinical status. The results also show that problem-solving skills were unaffected by symptom level and clinical status, thereby indicating that knowledge of problem-solving skills is unrelated to both GAD symptom level and GAD clinical status. The findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical and clinical implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Attitude
  • Cognition*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orientation*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Problem Solving*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires