Anxiety-related cognitions in close relationships

Ooi , Jinnie (2015) Anxiety-related cognitions in close relationships. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Etiological models of anxiety have increasingly emphasized the role of information
processing biases, and there is evidence that children, as well as adults exhibit these biases.
However, to date, little is known about the origins of these biases. This thesis aims to
explore whether interpretation bias and fear beliefs might be acquired from significant
others in close relationships (i.e., parents, friends and romantic partners). It also considers a
range of developmental stages to identify potential sources of influence that may play a role
in the acquisition and/or maintenance of information processing biases across development.
The thesis aims are realised across four studies that explore shared anxiety-related
cognitions in distinct close relationships. The main findings of this thesis are summarized as
follows. First, there is some evidence that individuals in close relationships exhibit similar
patterns of anxiety-related cognitions, namely in close friends in middle childhood, as well as
in parents and their young adult children. Second, there is some indication that anxietyrelated
cognitions might be acquired via the verbal information pathway from significant
others in close relationships, such as from parents, close friends, and romantic partners.
Third, factors such as the difference in anxiety levels between individuals in close
relationships, relationship closeness, and attachment do not appear to moderate the
transmission of anxiety-related cognitions in close relationships. Finally, results showed a
significant relationship between anxiety-related cognitions and anxiety in middle childhood
and young adulthood, but not in early childhood, indicating that interpretation bias may
initially develop during the preschool years and may not show an association with anxiety
until middle childhood. Taken together, these results indicate that anxiety-related cognitions
can be transmitted within close relationships, and that verbal information appears to be a viable
pathway in which such cognitions may be transmitted.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2016 10:04
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2016 10:04


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