Faculty Advisor

Dr. Sarah Kertz


Worry is the highlight characteristic of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). While worry is very common in anxiety disorders, it is important to note that worry is common in non-clinical populations as well. The current study focused on the metacognitive model of GAD (Wells, 2005). Various intervention types available for those with GAD have been examined. However, with the surge of technological advances being integrated into the field of psychology, it is important to examine technology-based treatments, more specifically smartphone application interventions. The purpose of the current study was to use a smartphone application (Anxiety Breaks; Habib, 2013) that targets worry in a population that met GAD criteria using the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ; Meyer et al., 1990). The goal was to examine how metacognitions mediate GAD symptoms before and after a three-week trial of application usage. It was hypothesized that post-usage scores would reflect a reduction in anxiety symptoms. Twenty-six undergraduate students at a large Midwestern university who reached the proper criteria for GAD after a phone screening of the PSWQ were recruited. Students engaged in an hour-long time one survey and computer task after which they were given the smartphone application to use for three weeks if they were in the immediate group or were told to wait for three weeks if they were in the waitlist group. Both groups completed weekly PSWQ’s and came in for another hour session after three weeks for time two and were given the opposite instructions from time one. At the end of the next three weeks, they were sent an online survey for time three. GADQ-IV and MCQ scores were predicted to decrease at time two after application use.