Emotion appraisal and anxiety symptomatology in a university sample

Angela H Smith, Peter J. Norton, Chad T Wetterneck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Current conceptualizations for anxiety disorders focus heavily on cognitive and behavioral aspects of anxiety and address other emotions to a far lesser extent. Studies have demonstrated that negative appraisals of anxiety and fear (e.g., anxiety sensitivity) are elevated in each of the anxiety disorders and depressive disorders. Much less is known about how the appraisal of other emotions is related to anxiety disorder symptom presentation. The current study examines the appraisal of specific aversive emotions in relation to anxiety symptomatology. Undergraduate university students (N = 530) completed measures of specific anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as a measure of emotional appraisal. A maximum likelihood estimated multivariate regression model was used to examine the unique relationships between emotional appraisal and anxiety and depressive symptoms. Results indicated that anxiety symptoms varied in their relationships with emotional appraisal. Each symptom group was highly related to fear of appraisals of anxiety; however, some anxiety symptoms were also related to fear of other emotional states, including guilt, sadness, disgust, lust, and embarrassment. Understanding the full range of appraisals of emotional experiences in anxiety conditions may help inform conceptualizations, and potentially treatments, by guiding the focus to the feared emotional states of the individual. The present study helps to clarify some of the relationships between emotion appraisal and anxiety symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • anxiety
  • emotion appraisal

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