A general anxiety-prone cognitive style in anxiety disorders. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study compared scores on the Anxious Thoughts & Tendencies (AT&T) questionnaire, a putative measure of a general anxiety-prone cognitive style, among patients with panic disorder without agoraphobia (PD, n=62), panic disorder with agoraphobia (PDA, n=29), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD, n=43), limited social phobia (LSP, n=34), generalized social phobia (GSP, n=33), and community residents (n=319).Candidates for treatment studies completed a diagnostic interview and the AT&T. AT&T scores were compared among anxious groups using analysis of variance. Then depressed and non-depressed patients were compared. The final analysis compared anxious groups without comorbid depressive or anxiety disorders.AT&T scores were highest in PDA patients, followed by patients with GAD or GSP, then patients with PD or LSP, with community residents lowest. Depressed patients were higher than non-depressed patients. Patients with current or past comorbid depressive disorders did not differ. The ranking of anxious groups on AT&T scores remained unchanged after exclusion of patients with comorbid disorders. Patients with PD or LSP without comorbidity had the same AT&T levels as the community sample.The AT&T discriminates PDA and GAD from PD per our hypothesis. The low AT&T levels among patients with PD and LSP suggest no association with a general anxiety-prone cognitive style. LSP and GSP may be distinct disorders. The cognitive style assessed by the AT&T is also associated with depression and may be a marker for vulnerability to depression. Definitive conclusions about a pathogenic role for cognitions require their measurement before the onset of the disorder.Copright 2002 Elsevier Science BV.

publication date

  • August 2002