Dispositional worry also biases the form of coping adopted in the face of threat. In part, such bias follows from bias in secondary appraisal; threats appraised as beyond personal control are likely to attract emotion—rather than task-focused coping (Lazarus, 1999). In other words, the person is liable to engage in strategies such as self-criticism, for failing to anticipate the threat, and wishful thinking, rather than taking direct problem-focused action. This style of coping is typical of trait anxiety and neuroti-cism (Matthews et al., 2000). Further characteristics of dispositional worry may dispose the person towards avoidant coping. First, verbal processing of worrisome thought may inhibit the negative emotional experiences that accompany those thoughts, so that worry may be employed as an avoidance coping strategy (Borkovec et al., 1998). Such strategies may prevent current emotional processing without altering the negative emotional meaning of the source worries, thereby creating maintaining conditions for emotional disturbance.

Secondly, due to the verbal nature of worry, the content of worries may be expressed in abstractions that involve less concrete detail than that provided by imagery. Stober (1997) has demonstrated that worrisome thought is indeed less concrete. Participants were asked to elaborate on various topics; results showed that elaborations on worry topics were of lower concreteness and lessened imagery quality as compared to non-worry topics. Stober (1997) argued that, in response to initial aversive images, worry mitigates the vividness of further negative images and thereby mutes physiological reaction to their occurrence.

Conquering Fear In The 21th Century

Conquering Fear In The 21th Century

The Ultimate Guide To Overcoming Fear And Getting Breakthroughs. Fear is without doubt among the strongest and most influential emotional responses we have, and it may act as both a protective and destructive force depending upon the situation.

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