Although theoretical models have implicated emotional reactivity (ER) and cognitive reactivity (CR) to the development of anxiety, few studies have examined this relation. The present study examines both the within-person and between-person relations of anxiety to ER and CR.
In the current study, within-person ER and CR refer to the relation of daily stress to emotion and cognition across time. Between-person ER and CR refer to the same across individuals. Participants were 223 undergraduate students who completed a 14-day daily diary procedure.
Multilevel modeling showed that anxiety positively predicted within-person ER but did not predict between-person ER. Anxiety marginally positively predicted within-person CR and negatively predicted between-person CR. For self-focused cognitions, anxiety did not predict within-person CR but did marginally negatively predict between-person CR. For world-focused cognitions, anxiety positively predicted within-person CR but did not predict between-person CR. For future-focused cognitions, anxiety negatively predicted between-person CR.
These findings demonstrated that anxiety is significantly associated with ER and CR and that the specific associations differ based on between- and within-person levels as well as the type of the dysfunctional cognitions.