Lien entre les évènements potentiellement traumatiques, les symptômes du trouble d'anxiété généralisée et les vulnérabilités cognitives
Past research has recognized the link between exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTE) and the development and maintenance of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) symptomology. The goal of this study was to further our understanding by verifying the relationship between exposure to a PTE, the presence of GAD symptoms, and the implication of two cognitive vulnerabilities: intolerance of uncertainty and cognitive avoidance. It was hypothesized that a significant relationship exists between, on one hand, previous exposure to a PTE, the intensity of the reaction during exposure, and the associated distress, and on the other hand, the tendancy to worry and the somatic symptoms associated with GAD. Moreover, it was hypothesized that a relationship exists between these same indicators of a PTE and the cognitive vulnerabilities listed above. A sample of 419 adult participants completed self-report measures. Previous exposure to at least one PTE was reported by 50% of our sample. The results of the study confirmed the presence of a significant positive relationship between exposure to a PTE, GAD symptomology and the cognitive vulnerabilities listed above. Our results suggest that a person previously exposed to a PTE and experiencing current distress associated with that exposure is more likely to manifest GAD symptomology and fulfill the critieria of GAD than those not previously exposed or those not experiencing current distress. Due to the correlational nature of our study, caution should be exercised when formulating interpretations based on the relationships observed. Suggestions aimed at further expanding our understanding of the relationship between exposure to a PTE and the symptoms and processes of GAD are proposed.