Catastrophic Worrying: Personal Inadequacy and a Perseverative Iterative Style as Features of the Catastrophizing Process

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Abstract

This article describes 6 studies that have used a catastrophizing interview technique to investigate some of the characteristics of catastrophic worrying. The main findings were (a) worriers were willing to catastrophize both a positive aspect of their life and a new hypothetical worry significantly more than nonworriers, (b) worriers were more likely than nonworriers to rate catastrophizing steps for a new worry as containing information relevant to existing worries, (c) worriers displayed a general iterative style that was independent of the valency of the iterative task, and (d) worriers tended to couch their worries in terms of personal inadequacies, and personal inadequacy became a feature of their catastrophizing regardless of the worry topic. Worriers' tendency to couch worries and catastrophizing steps in terms of personal inadequacies and their perseverative iterative style are both important contributors to the unresolved catastrophic thought experienced by chronic worriers.

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