Development and validation of two measures of emotional contrast avoidance: The contrast avoidance questionnaires

Sandra J. Llera, Michelle G. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The Contrast Avoidance (CA) model (Newman & Llera, 2011) proposed that individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) fear sharp emotional shifts (or contrasts), such as the shift from a pleasant or neutral state to one of sudden distress following a negative event. Further, the model suggests that chronic worry is employed by those with GAD to sustain negative emotionality as a means to avoid sudden shifts into negativity. The model has received empirical support; however, no validated measure exists to assess CA tendencies. In this paper we developed and tested two measures of CA: one focusing on worry, and another examining broader mechanisms of CA that could be used test whether CA is applicable to other disorders. In Study 1, Part 1, we used 3 samples of participants (each N = 410) to perform item reduction, exploratory factor analysis, and confirmatory factor analysis. In Study 1, Part 2, we performed tests of construct validity. In Study 2, we used a new sample (N = 126) to determine test-retest reliability. All data point to the strong psychometric properties of the CA questionnaires and their relationship to GAD. Both measures distinguished between participants reporting clinical levels of GAD symptoms and nonanxious controls, demonstrating their utility as complementary measures of CA tendencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-127
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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