Author(s): Meyer TJ, Miller ML, Metzger RL, Borkovec TD
The present report describes the development of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire to measure the trait of worry. The 16-item instrument emerged from factor analysis of a large number of items and was found to possess high internal consistency and good test-retest reliability. The questionnaire correlates predictably with several psychological measures reasonably related to worry, and does not correlate with other measures more remote to the construct. Responses to the questionnaire are not influenced by social desirability. The measure was found to significantly discriminate college samples (a) who met all, some, or none of the DSM-III-R diagnostic criteria for generalized anxiety disorder and (b) who met criteria for GAD vs posttraumatic stress disorder. Among 34 GAD-diagnosed clinical subjects, the worry questionnaire was found not to correlate with other measures of anxiety or depression, indicating that it is tapping an independent construct with severely anxious individuals, and coping desensitization plus cognitive therapy was found to produce significantly greater reductions in the measure than did a nondirective therapy condition.