WORRY AND META-COGNITIVE BELIEFS IN CHILDHOOD ANXIETY DISORDERS
Worry is a cognitive-emotive process characterized by repetitive and relatively uncontrollable thoughts that anticipate negative outcomes and cause distress in the individuals. According to the meta-cognitive model of Wells (1995), positive beliefs about the benefits of worry and negative beliefs on uncontrollability and danger of worry are associated with "pathological brooding" as the main feature of anxiety disorders. The phenomenon of worry is already present in preschool children and the ability to mull over is refined with the cognitive development and the progress of meta-cognition. The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between anxiety and worry in 184 preadolescents (aged 11-13 years). The measures employed were: RCMAS-2 to assess the levels of anxiety in children; the Penn State Worry Questionnaire for Children (PSWQ-C) and the Meta-cognition Questionnaire for Children (MCQ-C) to detect, respectively, the frequency and content of the worry. Results indicate that children with higher levels of anxiety reported significantly higher scores on PSWQ-C and in all subscales of the MCQ-C, with the only exception of the positive meta-worry. These results also support the reliability of the two instruments (PSWQ-C and MCQ-C-C) in the Italian version and encourage further applications in developmental or clinical researches.
Keywords: worry, anxiety disorders, meta-cognitive beliefs, preadolescents
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