Comparison of automatical thoughts among generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder and generalized social phobia patients

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Abstract. – OBJECTIVE: Automatic thoughts
are measurable cognitive markers of the psychopathology
and coping styles of individuals.
This study measured and compared the automatic
thoughts of patients with generalized anxiety
disorder (GAD), major depressive disorder
(MDD), and generalized social phobia (GSP).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Fifty-two patients
with GAD, 53 with MDD, and 50 with GSP and 52
healthy controls completed the Automatic
Thoughts Questionnaire (ATQ) and a structured
psychiatric interview. Patients with GAD, MDD,
and GSP also completed the Generalized Anxiety
Disorder-7 questionnaire, the Beck Depression
Inventory (BDI), and the Liebowitz Social
Anxiety Scale (LSAS) to determine the severity
of their illnesses. All scales were completed before
treatment and after diagnosis. The ATQ
scores of all pairs of groups were compared.
FINDINGS: The ATQ scores of the GAD, MDD,
and GSP groups were significantly higher than
were those of the control group. We also found
significant correlations among scores on the
GAD-7, BDI, and LSAS. The mean age of patients
with GSP was lower than was that of the other
groups (30.90 ± 8.35)
CONCLUSIONS: The significantly higher ATQ
scores of the MDD, GAD, and GSP groups, compared
with the control group, underscore the
common cognitive psychopathology characterizing
these three disorders. This finding confirms
that similar cognitive therapy approaches
should be effective for these patients. This study
is the first to compare GAD, MDD, and GSP from
a cognitive perspective.
Key Words:
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Given the high rates of comorbidity among


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