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12-03-2020 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2020

Cognitive Therapy and Research 3/2020

Looming Cognitive Style and Its Associations with Anxiety and Depression: A Meta-analysis

Tijdschrift:
Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 3/2020
Auteurs:
Gerard C. Yeo, Ryan Y. Hong, John H. Riskind
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10608-020-10089-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Abstract

Background

The looming cognitive style (LCS) is a cognitive bias to interpret and generate mental scenarios (i.e., mentally simulate) of threats as rapidly developing and approaching. A rapidly growing and approaching threat is likely to evoke a greater experience of urgency and anxiety in individuals compared to a threat that is interpreted to be static. Individuals who possess the LCS tend to perceive mentally simulated threats as rapidly intensifying and approaching, and this future-oriented prospection (or future-oriented thinking) is assumed to put them at risk of anxiety and depression.

Methods

The current meta-analytic review examined the strength of the relations between the LCS and different subtypes of anxiety (i.e., nonspecific anxiety, social anxiety, obsessions-compulsions, fears, and worry) and depression. Articles were retrieved from online databases and unpublished data sets. A total of 141 effect sizes were obtained from 61 articles with 69 independent samples after selection criteria were met.

Results

Random- and mixed-effects models indicated significant mean effect sizes of moderate magnitude. The relations between LCS and the anxiety subtypes were generally significantly stronger than that of depression, in particular for nonspecific anxiety, social anxiety, and worry. Additionally, sample type and study quality emerged as significant moderators for the effect sizes for certain symptoms.

Conclusions

These results support the idea that LCS is a transdiagnostic vulnerability factor for various anxiety subtypes and that it is more specific to anxiety than to depression. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.

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