A transdiagnostic evaluation of contrast avoidance across generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and social anxiety disorder

Michelle G. Newman, Gavin N. Rackoff, Yiqin Zhu, Hanjoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The contrast avoidance model (CAM) proposes that persons with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are sensitive to sharp increases in negative emotion or decreases in positive emotion (i.e., negative emotional contrasts; NEC) and use worry to avoid NEC. Sensitivity to and avoidance of NEC could also be a shared feature of major depressive disorder (MDD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD). Methods: In a large college sample (N = 1409), we used receiver operating characteristics analysis to examine the accuracy of a measure of emotional contrast avoidance in detecting probable GAD, MDD, and SAD. Results: Participants with probable GAD, MDD, and SAD all reported higher levels of contrast avoidance than participants without the disorder (Cohen's d = 1.32, 1.62 and 1.53, respectively). Area under the curve, a measure of predictive accuracy, was 0.81, 0.87, and 0.83 for predicting probable GAD, MDD, and SAD, respectively. A cutoff score of 48.5 optimized predictive accuracy for probable GAD and SAD, and 50.5 optimized accuracy for probable MDD. Conclusion: A measure of emotional contrast avoidance demonstrated excellent ability to predict probable GAD, MDD, and SAD. Sensitivity to and avoidance of NEC appears to be a transdiagnostic feature of these disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102662
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume93
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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