Health-Related Dysfunctional Beliefs and Health Anxiety: Further Evidence of Cognitive Specificity




The specificity of Salkovskis and Warwick's (2001) 4 health-related dysfunctional beliefs to health anxiety was examined.


Specificity was examined using a medically healthy sample of community members recruited through the Internet (N = 410, mean age = 32.9 years, 55.4% female). Structural equation modeling was used to compare the equivalence of latent correlations and partial path coefficients that controlled for the overlap among the targeted dysfunctional beliefs.


Health-related dysfunctional beliefs were significantly more strongly related to health anxiety than obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Further, health-related dysfunctional beliefs continued to share robust relations with health anxiety after controlling for related dysfunctional beliefs, although anxiety sensitivity appeared particularly relevant to health anxiety as well.


These results support the specificity of Salkovskis and Warwick's health-related dysfunctional beliefs to health anxiety, as well as the importance given to dysfunctional beliefs within cognitive-behavioral models and treatments of health anxiety.