The Fear and Anxiety Relationship: Association with Cognitive Functioning
Leithead, A. (2014) The Fear and Anxiety Relationship: Association with Cognitive Functioning, no. 67.
The current study aimed to explore the relationship between anxiety and fear. There are discrepancies in existing literature as to whether or not fear and anxiety are more similar than dissimilar, and whether they share the same underlying neural systems. It was hypothesised that higher anxiety scores would result in higher fear scores, showing a positive relationship between the two. The study also aimed to explore the impact of fear and anxiety upon cognitive functioning variables. Research has indicated that there are effects upon verbal working memory and executive functioning. The current study hypothesised that higher anxiety and higher fear ratings would result in negative impact upon verbal working memory and executive functioning, as well as producing higher cognitive failures scores. All participants completed the State-Trait Inventory for Somatic and Cognitive Anxiety questionnaire which produced anxiety scores. They watched a fearful film clip then completed the Subjective Units of Distress form and self-report emotions rating form to produce fear scores. Participants completed the Auditory Verbal Learning Task and Tower of Hanoi Task. They also completed the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire and Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale. Results indicated that fear correlated with state but not trait variables of anxiety. Overall, results indicated that fear and anxiety did not have impact upon verbal working memory and executive functioning. However, cognitive failures scores positively associated with almost all anxiety variables. This study indicated that fear and anxiety do not show a positive relationship overall, only in terms of state anxiety, and thus may differ. It was also found that in general, fear and anxiety are not negatively associated with verbal working memory and executive functioning