Self-report assessment of anxiety: Somatic, cognitive, and behavioral modalities

Paul M. Lehrer, Robert L. Woolfolk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

104 Scopus citations


This study was undertaken to determine whether self-reports of somatic, behavioral, and cognitive varieties of anxiety can be measured as orthogonal factors. A paper and pencil check list was developed to assess subjective report of somatic, cognitive, and behavioral complaints. A version of the inventory was given to a sample of 451 students at Seton Hall University, and an expanded inventory was given to a sample of 70 neurotic clients of mental health practitioners, 289 night school students at Rutgers University, and 67 participants in a stress workshop. In the latter study, only items that discriminated clients from nonclients were included in the analysis. In both studies, orthogonal somatic (hyperventilation), behavioral (social avoidance), and cognitive (worrying) factors emerged. When factor scales composed only of high-loading items were examined, the three factors no longer appeared to be completely independent. The cognitive factor was more closely related to the other factors than were the behavioral or somatic factors to each other. Among clients, the behavioral factor appears to measure neurotic introversion. Three validation studies are described. Data from the Eysenck Personality Inventory, the SCL-90, the Hamilton Anxiety Inventory, the IPAT Anxiety Scale, the Edwards Social Desirability Scale, and the Lykken Activities Preference Questionnaire provide some convergent and discriminant validity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-177
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1982
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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