Personality and anxiety disorders: examination of revised reinforcement sensitivity theory in clinical generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder


  • Behrooz Afshari Kashan University of Medical Science


Słowa kluczowe:

revised reinforcement sensitivity theory, behavioral brain systems, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder


Personality has been implicated in the development and continuation of mental disorders. One major advance in the personality field came with the reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST). The study of personality can help explicate the pathology of anxiety disorders. To this end, the present study compared the profile of the revised reinforcement sensitivity theory (r-RST) of personality in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety dis-order (SAD), and panic disorder (PD).

Participants and procedure
Seventy-eight GAD patients, 76 SAD patients, 72 PD patients, and 85 healthy individuals participated in the present study. All participants were assessed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I disorders (SCID-I), Beck Depression Inventory, Jackson-5 Questionnaire, Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire, Panic and Agoraphobia Scale, and Social Phobia Inventory. Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the Research Deputy of Kashan University of Medical Sciences. Participants were given information about the study and provided informed consent in writing.

Data were analyzed by chi-square, independent t-test, analysis of variance, and multivariate analysis of vari-ance. All patients were higher on Flight than the control group. Also, all patients and healthy controls differed in the revised reinforcement sensitivity theory.

The more nuanced knowledge from the revised reinforcement sensitivity theory may be helpful in the diagno-sis, etiology, and psychotherapy of anxiety disorders.


Download data is not yet available.


Afshari, B., Khezrian, K., & Faghihi, A. (2019). Examination and comparison of cognitive and executive functions in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. Journal of Isfahan Medical School, 37, 270–277. v37i320.11149.

Afshari, B., Rasouli-Azad, M., & Ghoreishi, F. S. (2019). Comparison of original and revised reinforcement sensitivity theory in clinically-stable schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients. Personality and Individual Differences,138, 321–327. 10.1016/j.paid.2018.10.026.

APA (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV-TR). Washington, DC: APA Publishing.

APA (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5). Washington, DC: APA Publishing.

Bandelow, B., Broocks, A., Pekrun, G., George, A., Meyer, T., Pralle, L., Bartmann, U., Hillmer-Vogel, U., & Rüther, E. (2000). The use of the Panic and Agoraphobia Scale (P & A) in a controlled clinical trial. Pharmacopsychiatry, 33, 174–181. https://doi. org/10.1055/s-2000-12982.

Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Brown, G. K. (1996). Manual for the Beck Depression Inventory-II. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.

Bienvenu, O. J., Hettema, J. M., Neale, M. C., Prescott, C. A., & Kendler, K. S. (2007). Low extraversion and high neuroticism as indices of genetic and environmental risk for social phobia, agoraphobia, and animal phobia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 164, 1714–1721. appi.ajp.2007.06101667.

Bijttebier, P., Beck, I., Claes, L., & Vandereycken, W. (2009). Gray’s reinforcement sensitivity theory as a framework for research on personality-psychopathology associations. Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 421–430. 04.002.

Campbell-Sills, L., Liverant, G. I., & Brown, T. A. (2004). Psychometric evaluation of the behavioral inhibition/behavioral activation scales in a large sample of outpatients with anxiety and mood disorders. Psychological Assessment, 16, 244–254.

Carrera, M., Herran, A., Ramirez, M., Ayestarán, A., Sierra‐Biddle, D., Hoyuela, F., Rodríguez-Cabo, B., & Vázquez‐Barquero, J. L. (2006). Personality traits in early phases of panic disorder: Implications on the presence of agoraphobia, clinical severity and short‐term outcome. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 114, 417–425. 0447.2006.00826.x.

Claridge, G., & Davis, C. (2013). Personality and psychological disorders. New York: Routledge.

Cloninger, C. R., Zohar, A. H., Hirschmann, S., & Dahan, D. (2012). The psychological costs and benefits of being highly persistent: personality profiles distinguish mood disorders from anxiety disorders. Journal of Affective Disorders, 136, 758–766.

Corr, P. J. (2008). Reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST): Introduction. In P. J. Corr (Ed.), The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality (pp. 1–43). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Corr, P. J., & Cooper, A. J. (2016). The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality Questionnaire (RST-PQ): Development and validation. Psychological Assessment, 28, 1427–1440. 10.1037/pas0000273.

Cremers, H. R., & Roelofs, K. (2016). Social anxiety disorder: a critical overview of neurocognitive research. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. Cognitive Science, 7, 218–232. wcs.1390.

First, M. B., Spitzer, R. L., Gibbon, M., & Williams, J. B. (1995). The structured clinical interview for DSMIII-R personality disorders (SCID-II). Part I: Description. Journal of Personality Disorders, 9, 83–91.

Flett, G. L., Hewitt, P. L., & Dyck, D. G. (1989). Selforiented perfectionism, neuroticism and anxiety. Personality and Individual Differences, 10, 731–735.

Foa, E. B., Riggs, D. S., Massie, E. D., & Yarczower, M. (1995). The impact of fear activation and anger on the efficacy of exposure treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. Behavior Therapy, 26, 487– 499.

Graeff, F. G. (2007). Anxiety, panic and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 29, s3–s6. 44462007000500002.

Gray, J. A. (1981). A critique of Eysenck’s theory of personality. In H. J. Eysenck (Ed.), A model for personality (pp. 246–276). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

Gray, J. A. (1982). Oxford psychology series. The neuropsychology of anxiety: an enquiry into the functions of the septo-hippocampal system. New York: Clarendon Press/Oxford University Press.

Gray, J. A. (1987). Problems in the behavioural sciences, Vol. 5. The psychology of fear and stress (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gray, J. A., & McNaughton, N. (2000). The neuropsychology of anxiety. New York: Oxford University Press.

Harnett, P. H., Loxton, N. J., & Jackson, C. J. (2013). Revised reinforcement sensitivity theory: Implications for psychopathology and psychological health. Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 432–437.

Hasani, J., Salehi, S., & Rasouli-Azad, M. (2012). Psychometric properties of Jackson’s Five Factor Questionnaire: Scales of revised reinforcement sensitivity theory (r-RST). Research in Psychological Health, 6, 60–73.

Jackson, C. J. (2009). Jackson-5 scales of revised reinforcement sensitivity theory (r-RST) and their application to dysfunctional real world outcomes. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 556–569.

Jorm, A. F., Christensen, H., Henderson, A. S., Jacomb, P. A., Korten, A. E., & Rodgers, B. (1998). Using the BIS/BAS scales to measure behavioural inhibition and behavioural activation: Factor structure, validity and norms in a large community sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 26, 49–58.

Kashdan, T. B. (2002). Social anxiety dimensions, neuroticism, and the contours of positive psychological functioning. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 26, 789–810.

Kessler, R. C., Gruber, M., Hettema, J. M., Hwang, I., Sampson, N., & Yonkers, K. A. (2008). Co-morbid major depression and generalized anxiety disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey followup. Psychological Medicine, 38, 365–374. https://

Kotov, R., Watson, D., Robles, J. P., & Schmidt, N. B. (2007). Personality traits and anxiety symptoms: The multilevel trait predictor model. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, 1485–1503. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.brat.2006.11.011.

Krupić, D., & Corr, P. J. (2017). Moving forward with the BAS: Towards a neurobiology of multidimensional model of approach motivation. Psychological Topics, 26, 25–45.

Lesser, I. M., Rubin, R. T., Pecknold, J. C., Rifkin, A., Swinson, R. P., Lydiard, R. B., Burrows, G. D., Noyes, R., & DuPont, R. L. (1988). Secondary depression in panic disorder and agoraphobia: I. Frequency, severity, and response to treatment. Archives of General Psychiatry, 45, 437–443. archpsyc.1988.01800290053007.

McNaughton, N., & Corr, P. J. (2008). The neuropsychology of fear and anxiety: a foundation for reinforcement sensitivity theory. In P. J. Corr (Ed.), The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality (pp. 44–94). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Meygoni, A. K. M., & Ahadi, H. (2012). Declining the rate of major depression: Effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 35, 230–236. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.02.083.

Moffitt, T. E., Harrington, H., Caspi, A., Kim-Cohen, J., Goldberg, D., Gregory, A. M., & Poulton, R. J. (2007). Depression and generalized anxiety disorder: Cumulative and sequential comorbidity in a birth cohort followed prospectively to age 32 years. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64, 651–660.

Neal, L. B., & Gable, P. A. (2017). Regulatory control and impulsivity relate to resting frontal activity. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12, 1377–1383.

Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2000). The role of rumination in depressive disorders and mixed anxiety/depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109, 504– 511.

Ohayon, M. M., & Schatzberg, A. F. (2010). Social phobia and depression: Prevalence and comorbidity. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 68, 235–243.

Quarantelli, E. L. (2001). The sociology of panic. Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, Newark. Richter, P., Werner, J., Heerlein, A., Kraus, A., & Sauer, H. (1998). On the validity of the Beck Depression Inventory. Psychopathology, 31, 160–168.

Sharifi, V., Assadi, S. M., Mohammadi, M. R., Amini, H., Kaviani, H., Semnani, Y., Shabani, A., Shahrivar, Z., Davari-Ashtiani, R., Shooshtari, M. H., Seddigh, A., & Jalali, M. (2009). A Persian translation of the structured clinical interview for „Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders”: psychometric properties. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 50, 86–91.

Sharma, S. C. (2003). Generalized anxiety disorder and personality traits. Kathmandu University Medical Journal, 1, 248–250. Solmaz, M., Kulacaoglu, F., Sagir, S., Ardic, F. C., Balcioglu, Y. H., & Kose, S. (2018). Temperament and character dimensions of personality in social anxiety disorder with and without comorbid major depressive disorder. Klinik Psikofarmakoloji Bulteni, 28, 95–96.

Spitzer, R. L., Kroenke, K., Williams, J. B., & Löwe, B. (2006). A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: the GAD-7. Archives of Internal Medicine, 166, 1092–1097. archinte.166.10.1092.

Starcevic, V., Uhlenhuth, E., Fallon, S., & Pathak, D. (1996). Personality dimensions in panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 37, 75–79. 0327(95)00058-5.

Stein, M. B., & Chavira, D. A. (1998). Subtypes of social phobia and comorbidity with depression and other anxiety disorders. Journal of Affective Disorders, 50, S11–S16. 0327(98)00092-5.

Stein, M. B., & Stein, D. J. (2008). Social anxiety disorder. The Lancet, 371, 1115–1125. https://doi. org/10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60488-2.

Tashkeh, M., & Bazani, M. (2015). Prediction of social anxiety by cognitive emotional regulation and emotional schema in female and male students. Zanko Journal of Medical Sciences, 16, 72–83.

Walker, B. R., Jackson, C. J., & Frost, R. (2017). A comparison of revised reinforcement sensitivity theory with other contemporary personality models. Personality and Individual Differences, 109, 232– 236.

Wang, C. Y., Wu, Y. C., Su, C. H., Lin, P. C., Ko, C. H., & Yen, J. Y. (2017). Association between Internet gaming disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 6, 564–571.

Wilhelm, F. H., Pfaltz, M. C., Gross, J. J., Mauss, I. B., Kim, S. I., & Wiederhold, B. K. (2005). Mechanisms of virtual reality exposure therapy: The role of the behavioral activation and behavioral inhibition systems. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 30, 271–284. 005-6383-1.

Yen, J. Y., Ko, C. H., Yen, C. F., Chen, C. S., & Chen, C. C. (2009). The association between harmful alcohol use and internet addiction among college students: Comparison of personality. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 63, 218–224. https://doi. org/10.1111/j.1440-1819.2009.01943.x.



Jak cytować

Afshari, B. (2020). Personality and anxiety disorders: examination of revised reinforcement sensitivity theory in clinical generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 8(1), 52–60.