EFFECTS OF WORRY ON INTERPERSONAL PERCEPTIONS AND BEHAVIORS

Open Access
Author:
Shin, Ki Eun
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
July 08, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Michelle G. Newman, Thesis Advisor
  • Aaron L. Pincus, Committee Member
  • Reginald B. Adams, Jr., Committee Member
Keywords:
  • social cognition
  • interpersonal behavior
  • trait worry
  • state worry
  • state anxiety
Abstract:
Worry, the hallmark symptom of generalized anxiety disorder, has been linked to maladaptive social cognitions and interpersonal behaviors. However, previous studies have been limited only to examining effects of trait worry. Therefore, effects of state worry and associated anxiety on interpersonal processes are largely unknown. The current study aimed to fill the gap by examining effects of trait worry, state worry, and state anxiety on participants’ self- and other-perception and their actual influence on a confederate in the context of a dyadic interaction. 126 undergraduates (40 GAD analogues) received either worry (n = 65) or relaxation (n = 61) inductions and interacted with a same-sex confederate in two interaction tasks (introduction, collaborative story construction). Confederate behaviors were standardized to remain neutral across participants. Interpersonal perception and behaviors were assessed through self- and informant-reports based on two dimensions (affiliation, dominance). Both trait worry and state anxiety were associated with perceiving the confederate as hostile, self as submissive, and impacting the confederate in a submissive manner. Results were discrepant on self-perception of affiliation, with trait worry predicting greater affiliation in ratings of self, whereas state anxiety predicting lower self-rated affiliation. Effects of state worry were not significant across interpersonal variables. Theoretical and clinical implications of the findings as well as issues related to measurement of worry are discussed.