Naumann, Lena (2014). Understanding and assessing worrying - analyzing relevant psychopathological mechanisms relevant for generalized anxiety disorder across the lifespan. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

DissertationLenaNaumann_KUPS.pdf - Accepted Version

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Background: Metacognitions concerning worrying and cognitive avoidance are important psychopathological constructs, conceptualized within the scope of worrying and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Both constructs are considered crucial for the development and/or maintenance of persistent recurring and intrusive thoughts across the lifespan. Unfortunately, adequate instruments for the assessment of metacognitions in children and cognitive avoidance in adults in German are missing. Also, research is needed further evaluating both constructs across the lifespan for a better understanding of their role in exacerbating pathological worrying and other symptoms of GAD. Aims: The aim of the two presented studies was to evaluate the factor structure and psychometric properties of the newly developed German Metacognitions Questionnaire for children (MKF-K, study one) and the translated German Cognitive Avoidance Questionnaire (CAQ-D, study two) for adults. Further, the objective was to evaluate the relevance of both constructs for pathological worrying and other psychopathologically relevant conditions. Methods: The factor structure of both instruments was examined using explanatory and confirmatory factor analyses. Construct validity was assessed by correlation coefficients with related constructs and hierarchical regression analyses predicting worry and anxiety in a children’s sample (study one) and positive and negative metacognitions, as well as worry and depressive symptoms in an adult sample (study two). In addition to psychometric analyses, age effects of metacognitions and the transdiagnostic value of cognitive avoidance were considered. Results: The fit indices of the factor structure of both measures indicate moderate to good model fits. Results confirm good psychometric properties in general. Both constructs contributed significantly to the prediction of worrying and anxiety independent of the developmental status (study one), and negative metacognitions, worrying, and depressive symptoms (study two), even after controlling for demographic variables and related constructs. Discussion: The German MKF-K serves as reliable and valid instruments for the assessment of different metacognitive believes in childhood and the CAQ-D for cognitive avoidance strategies in adulthood. Metacognitions and cognitive avoidance are relevant constructs to at least two highly relevant psychopathological conditions (anxiety and depression) across the lifespan. The studies provide further support for the validity of both constructs for persistent recurring and intrusive thoughts. Furthermore, metacognitions and cognitive avoidance are important transdiagnostic risk factors across the lifespan and likely contribute substantially to the exacerbation of anxiety in GAD.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Naumann, Lenalena.naumann@uni-koeln.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-61357
Date: November 2014
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Human Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Human Sciences > Department Psychologie
Subjects: Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
generalized anxiety disorder, metacognitions, cognitive avoidance, depression, transdiagnosticEnglish
Date of oral exam: 8 April 2015
NameAcademic Title
Gerlach, Alexander L.Prof. Dr.
Stahl, JuttaProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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