Montgomery, I., Davis, M., Sultan, S. and Thompson, T., University of Tasmania, Australia
Worry is ubiquitous and a prime symptom in much psychopathology. Recently we have considered both the physiological and cognitive aspects of worry in a series of laboratory-based studies. This paper reviews these studies, drawing out issues that surround (1), the high proportion of women who are worriers, (2), the failure in some of our studies to establish the autonomic inhibition effect associated with worry, (3), the conditions under which differences between verbal and visual ideation are evident among worriers and nonworriers, and (4), the role of intolerance of uncertainty and the relevance of future orientation among worriers. There has been no clear resolution to some of these problems. For example there is little clarity concerning key variables determining the autonomic inhibition effect. On the other hand, we have been able to identify elements of the problem solving approaches of worriers. Our research to date establishes that worry impacts in a variety of ways on the cognitive and physiological functioning of individuals. Depending on the relative impacts of these factors, decisions can be made about the relatives efficacy of a behavioural and/or cognitive strategy to deal with worry.