Self-Report Differentiation of Anxiety and Depression in an Anxiety Disorders Sample

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There is a prevalent belief that self-reports of anxiety and depression are often indistinguishable, based largely on findings with college students or mixed psychiatric samples. This study focused on a homogeneous sample of clinically anxious subjects who presented to an anxiety disorders clinic. A factor analysis was conducted using the responses of 298 anxiety disorder patients on the Beck Depression Inventory and the State Anxiety subscale of the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory. Separate anxiety and depression factors emerged with almost no overlap. State Anxiety was comprised of separate positive and negative descriptors but this may be an artifact of the subscale. These results suggest that anxiety and depression can be reliably differentiated in a homogeneous clinical sample and await replication in a unipolar depressed sample.

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