Category: Adult Anxiety - GAD

PS10- #A23 - Moving Beyond the Negative: Understanding the Relationship Between Positive Affect and Quality of Life in Patients With GAD

Saturday, Nov 18
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Adult Anxiety | Emotion | CBT

Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) report lower quality of life (QOL) than non-anxious controls (NAC) (Henning et al., 2006). Associations between severity of negative affect (NA) and quality of life impairments have been consistently demonstrated. However, little research has examined the role of positive affect (PA) in GAD and QOL. Positive affect has been shown to associate with many desirable physical and psychological outcomes such as improved health, well-being, confidence, optimism, and self-efficacy, to name a few. Research has indicated that individuals with GAD may have dampened PA; therefore, examining PA regulation in these populations may inform ways to increase PA and improve treatment. The main objective of the present work is to investigate this relationship in 50 treatment-seeking individuals with GAD (age: M = 43.48 SD = 14.34, 74% Female) compared to 22 NACs (age: M = 40.50, SD = 16.49, 86% Female). All participants completed the Quality of Life Inventory, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, and the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale as part of a clinical trial intake assessment. Compared to NAC, individuals with GAD reported lower QOL (t(69) = 1.56, p < 0.001, d = 1.35) and PA (t(50) = 8.40, p < 0.001, d = 2.04), and higher levels of NA (t(64) = -10.16, p < 0.001, d = 2.32) and depression, (t(52) = -11.11, p < 0.001, d = 2.24). Separate stepwise multiple regressions were conducted on the combined sample to determine the degree to which PA and NA made unique contributions to QOL when controlling for alternative PANAS subscale.  When controlling for NA, PA was a significant predictor of OQL beyond NA (β = 0.59, p < .001) and accounted for an additional 21% of the variance. When controlling for PA, NA was not a significant predictor of QOL (β = 0.20, p > .05), and accounted for only an additional 3% of the variance. A second stepwise regression was conducted in the GAD group only to determine the association between PA and QOL while controlling for both NA and depression severity. Controlling for NA and the depression subscale of the DASS, PA was a significant predictor (β = 0.41, p < .01) of QOL and accounted for an additional 11% of the variance. These results indicate that PA may have an important protective role in life satisfaction beyond NA and depression. These findings call for more emphasis on increasing PA in additional to decreasing NA during CBT for GAD.

Akanksha Das

Research Assistant
Anxiety Disorders Center, The Institute of Living
Hartford, Connecticut

David F. Tolin

Anxiety Disorders Center, The Institute of Living
Hartford, Connecticut

Michal Assaf

Senior Research Scientist
Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, The Institute of Living
Hartford, Connecticut

John Goethe

Director of Clinical Research
The Institute of Living
Hartford, Connecticut

Gretchen Diefenbach

Anxiety Disorders Center, The Institute of Living
Hartford, Connecticut